Log In | Customer Support   
Home Book Travel Destinations Hotels Cruises Air Travel Community Search:  
Search

Search CruisePage

Book a Cruise
 - CruiseServer
 - Search Caribbean
 - Search Alaska
 - Search Europe
 - 888.700.TRIP

Book Online
Cruise
Air
Hotel
Car
Cruising Area:

Departure Date:
Cruise Length:

Price Range:

Cruise Line:

Forums
 >  Cruise Talk
 >  Rail Talk
 >  Air Talk
 >  Destination Talk
 >  Hotel Talk

Buy Stuff

Reviews
 - Ship Reviews
 - Dream Cruise
 - Ship of the Month
 - Reader Reviews
 - Submit a Review
 - Millennium Cruise

Community
 - Photo Gallery
 - Join Cruise Club
 - Cruise News
 - Cruise News Archive
 - Cruise Views
 - Cruise Jobs
 - Special Needs
 - Maritime Q & A
 - Sea Stories

Industry
 - New Ship Guide
 - Former Ships
 - Port Information
 - Inspection Scores
 - Shipyards
 - Ship Cams
 - Freighter Travel
 - Man Overboard List
 - Potpourri

Shopping
 - Shirts & Hats
 - Books
 - Videos
 - Reservations
 - Vacation Specials
 - Web Deals

Contact Us
 - Reservations
 - Mail
 - Feedback
 - Suggest-a-Site
 - About Us


   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.


Cruise News - December 15, 2014

Don't forget to check out CruisePage.com, the Internet's largest cruise database. With over 11,000 cruise itineraries and over 300 ship profiles, CruisePage.com is the perfect tool to help you find and book the perfect cruise.

SS United States Conservancy Announces Redevelopment Agreement
The SS United States Conservancy, the group that currently owns the SS United States, announced this week that they have entered into a preliminary agreement in support of the redevelopment of the the famous ocen liner. The Conservancy said that negotiations have been underway for some time, and planning will continue with a variety of stakeholders. While further due diligence is conducted, the Conservancy will receive financial support to cover the vessel's core carrying costs for at least an additional three months.

SS United States Conservancy Announces Redevelopment AgreementThe group said that the plan remains at an early and delicate phase and that the ship's potential redevelopment represents a multifaceted engineering, real estate, and curatorial undertaking that will take considerable time to advance. While many challenges must still be overcome the Conservancy said that their new partners are well equipped to handle this unique project's scope and scale, and the group looks forward to working closely with them in the months to come.

Because negotiations are advancing on a confidential basis, the group said they were unable to offer further specifics at this time but that they would share additional information as soon possible. The Conservancy said taht it views this as a very positive development which, while still in its initial stages, gives them renewed hope that they can, at long last, Save the United States.

In the announcement, SSUSC Executive Director Susan Gibbs said "We have reached this moment because so many of you have helped us. You are the real heroes of this effort. We are particularly grateful to Gerry Lenfest, whose transformative contributions enabled the Conservancy to take title to the SS United States in 2011, and who has been a steadfast supporter of our efforts. We also extend our heartfelt gratitude to Jim Pollin. Without his leadership gift and challenge grant to the Conservancy last summer - and without such a generous response from far and wide to Jim's call - we would never have achieved this milestone."

While the ship is safe for the moment, this achievement doesn't mean the group's work is done. The Conservancy is continuing to develop plans for a ship-board museum and educational center, and build archival and curatorial collections, document and disseminate the ship's historic importance, plan for contingencies, and work together with their new redevelopment partners to prepare the SS United States for her voyage to her next port of call.

New President for Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Corporation & plc. the world's largest travel and leisure company, today announced that Christine Duffy has been named president of Carnival Cruise Line, with 24 ships, making it the largest of Carnival Corporation's nine distinct cruise brands.

Christine Duffy has been named president of Carnival Cruise LineDuffy, currently president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), will assume the role on Feb. 1, reporting to Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc.

"Christine is one of the most respected and dynamic leaders in the travel industry," said Donald. "She brings a wealth of experience to Carnival Cruise Line that will help the cruise line continue to deliver unmatched vacation experiences to millions of guests each year."

Duffy has more than 30 years of experience in the travel industry and started her career as a travel agent in Philadelphia at McGettigan Partners. As CEO of CLIA, the leading trade association of the cruise industry, she led many advancements including the globalization of cruise industry associations around the world to create a unified voice promoting cruising to key stakeholders from policy makers to consumers through CLIA's more than 13,000 travel agency members representing over 50,000 travel agents.

In this role, Duffy successfully engaged member cruise lines and industry stakeholders to support CLIA's expansion into new and emerging markets around the world. Before assuming her role with CLIA in 2010, she served as president and CEO of Maritz Travel, the largest corporate meeting, incentive and event companies in the world from 2004-2010.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for me to be part of a dynamic organization with a long history of innovation and industry firsts," said Duffy. "The name Carnival is truly synonymous with cruising and I look forward to joining this talented team to continue the tradition of excellence that has made Carnival Cruise line one of the top cruise lines in the world."

Duffy serves on various travel industry boards including U.S. Travel Association (USTA), the advisory board for Starwood Hotels, and the Board of Directors for Visit Florida. In 2001, she founded Meeting Professionals International's Women's Leadership Initiative, which delivered research and programs to help women in the industry advance in their careers. She also is a member of The Committee of 200, an organization of the world's most successful women business leaders that supports, celebrates and advances women's leadership in business and works to ensure that women will continue to take on more significant and visible leadership roles.

The St. Louis Business Journal recognized her as one of the 25 Most Influential Business Women. Corporate Meetings and Incentives chose her as one of the "Top 10 Women Leaders in the Meeting Industry," and Meetings News magazine named her four separate times as one of the "25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry."

Caribbean's Newest Destination To Welcome First Carnival Cruise Ship In October 2015
Amber Cove, an exciting new destination located in the heart of the Dominican Republic's breathtaking North Coast, known as the Amber Coast, just outside the historical town of Puerto Plata – will welcome its first cruise ship when the Carnival Victory arrives on October 6, 2015, for a day-long call.

The visit by Carnival Victory is the first of 37 calls by eight different Carnival ships that will take place between October 2015 and April 2016, accounting for more than 100,000 guests during this period.

Amber Coast, just outside the historical town of Puerto PlataAmber Cove will be a featured port on select sailings of Carnival Breeze, Carnival Glory, Carnival Splendor and Carnival Victory from Miami, Carnival Conquest from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Valor from Port Canaveral, Fla., and Carnival Fantasy from Charleston, S.C.

"Amber Cove is destined to become a cornerstone in creating new itineraries from several U.S. home ports," said Terry Thornton, Carnival's senior vice president of itinerary planning. "It will provide an unmatched combination of 'fun in the sun' activities and eco-tourism opportunities along with unique sightseeing, dining and cultural experiences to create a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories for our guests," he added.

Designed to serve as the gateway to one of the world's most beautiful cruising regions, Amber Cove features dramatic architectural elements that echo the area's storied Colonial past. The port is situated in a picturesque cove that serves as the backdrop for soaring mountains and lush tropical landscape. Its cobblestone plazas will be lined with a wide variety of retail offerings, including themed restaurants and bars and a marketplace with locally sourced crafts and souvenirs, recreational amenities, and a transportation center for access to land and sea adventures.

The facility will offer two berths that can accommodate up to two large post-Panamax cruise ships simultaneously.

Amber Cove will feature one of the most extensive shore excursion programs available in the Caribbean, offering a wide array of landside experiences including beautiful beaches, exciting water sports and special culinary, cultural and adventure options. Nearby Ocean World, which is one of the region's largest marine adventure parks, will offer guests many great ways to experience and interact with a variety of marine animals.

Dozens of shore excursions will be available, from cross-country adventures in 4x4 Terracross buggies that traverse the rugged countryside and horseback riding on the beach to snorkeling in crystal-clear waters and swimming in a pristine natural river pool. Guests can also travel via speedboat to beautiful Paradise Island, one of the Caribbean's top spots for snorkeling and scuba diving, or visit rural coffee plantations and sample traditional Dominican cuisine, rum and seasonal fruit. Or for the ultimate luxury experience, guests can reserve their own private beachside bungalow with the services of a personal chef, bartender and staff.

Amber Cove will also provide easy and convenient access to the nearby historic town of Puerto Plata, named by Christopher Columbus when he discovered the island in 1492. Puerto Plata is home to the first fort built by European settlers in the New World. Visitors to the city can shop in the bustling downtown area featuring numerous artist studios and rum and cigar factories or stroll along the famed Malecon, a three-mile-long open air beach-side boardwalk dotted with bars, restaurants and shops.

Celebrity Cruises Unveils 2016-2017 Asia Season and a Brand-first
Celebrity Cruises has revealed its array of exotic 2016-2017 vacations in Asia.

The Asia season offers vacationers far-flung destination experiences in 16 countries across 28 thrilling cruise vacations. With a lineup of more than 35 different destinations, guests now can explore Asia in modern luxury style from the choice of two award-winning Celebrity ships - Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Constellation.

A brand-first, the premium cruise vacation company will homeport in culture-rich Abu Dhabi with Celebrity Constellation. The Millennium Class ship will set sail on nine- to 15-night itineraries, featuring destination experiences in the Arabian Coast, Arabian Sea, four different ports of call in India with overnights in Muscat and Khasab, Oman; Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE. The ship will then offer four Asia cruise vacations, roundtrip Singapore, visiting Brunei; China; Malaysia; the Philippines; Thailand and Vietnam, with overnights in Singapore and double overnights in Bangkok.

Celebrity Millennium's return to Asia will offer 11- to 15-night itineraries with unforgettable journeys in the Far East. Guests can enjoy deep experiences in China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam as well as overnights in Bangkok, Beijing, Taipei, Bali, Singapore, Tokyo and more.

Celebrity Cruises Unveils 2016-2017 Asia Season and a Brand-first

Norwegian Cruise Line Unveils 2016/2017 Itineraries
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced its 2016/2017 deployment. Highlights include the addition of San Juan, Puerto Rico as a seasonal homeport for Norwegian Gem, along with new eight-day Eastern Caribbean and six-day Western Caribbean Norwegian Escape sailings from Miami. In addition, all guests sailing a Western Caribbean itinerary in 2016/2017 will have the opportunity to enjoy a visit to Harvest Caye, Norwegian's new island destination in Belize.

Seasonally, Norwegian also continues to offer three ships in Alaska, four in Europe, two in Bermuda, as well as a variety of exciting South America; Bahamas & Florida; and repositioning cruises. Norwegian will also continue to offer its unique inter-island Hawaii cruises year-round on Pride of America from Honolulu and short Bahamas itineraries from Miami year-round on Norwegian Sky. The new itineraries open today for group bookings, and go on sale on December 16, 2014 for our Latitudes Rewards guests and President's Club travel partners and on December 18, 2014 for all bookings.

Norwegian Cruise Line Unveils 2016/2017 Itineraries"Once again, Norwegian Cruise Line continues to offer a wide variety of exciting cruises for our guests to choose from in 2016 and early 2017," said Drew Madsen, Norwegian's president and chief operating officer. "Guests can cruise to the Caribbean year-round while experiencing the incredible innovations on Norwegian's newest ships, Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Getaway. In addition, we continue to offer the best of Europe on four beautiful ships including Norwegian Epic year-round, and the opportunity to experience the scenic beauty of Alaska on some of the youngest ships in the industry."

Bermuda - Norwegian will continue its tradition of sailing from both New York City and Boston to the pink sand beaches of Bermuda between April and October, 2016. Norwegian Breakaway will return to Bermuda, sailing from New York City on seven-day cruises every Sunday from April 24, 2016 through October 23, 2016. From Boston, Norwegian Dawn will sail seven-day cruises, departing every Friday, from June 3, 2016 through September 2, 2016 and from October 7, 2016 through October 21, 2016.

Caribbean

Norwegian's newest and largest ship, Norwegian Escape, will sail seven-day Eastern Caribbean sailings from Miami year-round. Ports of call include St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Escape will sail an eight-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary from Miami on July 23, 2016, August 6, 2016, and August 20, 2016. Ports of call will include Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Norwegian Escape will also sail a six-day Western Caribbean itinerary from Miami on July 31, 2016, August 14, 2016, and August 28, 2016. Ports of call include Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico. This six and eight-day itineraries can be combined to create an incredible 14-day Caribbean vacation.

Norwegian Getaway, Miami's Ultimate Ship, will sail from Miami to the Western Caribbean on seven-day cruises every Saturday from April 24, 2016 to April 23, 2017. Ports of call include Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Norwegian's newest destination Harvest Caye, Belize; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico.

Norwegian returns to homeport in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2016 on Norwegian Gem. She will sail a seven-day Southern Caribbean itinerary from San Juan on October 23, November 6 and 20, and December 4, 2016. Ports of call will include Bridgetown, Barbados; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Norwegian Gem will also sail a variation of the seven-day Southern Caribbean itinerary on October 30, November 13, and November 27, 2016. Ports of call include St. George's, Grenada; Castries, St. Lucia; Roseau, Dominica; St. John's, Antigua; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Norwegian Spirit will sail alternating seven-day Western Caribbean and Eastern Caribbean itineraries departing on Saturdays from Port Canaveral. The Western Caribbean itinerary begins December 10, 2016 and continues to April 15, 2017. Ports of call will include Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. The Eastern Caribbean itinerary stops in Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands, from December 3, 2016 to April 8, 2017.

Norwegian Jade will sail a seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary every Saturday from Houston from November 19, 2016 to April 15, 2017. Ports of call include Cozumel, Mexico; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras.

Norwegian Dawn will sail a seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary every Sunday from New Orleans from November 20, 2016 to April 16, 2017. Her stops will include Cozumel, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya, Mexico.

Norwegian Star will sail a seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary every Sunday from Tampa from October 23, 2016 to April 16, 2017. Ports of call will include Cozumel, Mexico; Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Harvest Caye, Belize.

Alaska

Norwegian will continue to sail three ships in Alaska in the summer of 2016: Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jewel from Seattle, Washington and Norwegian Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia and Seward, Alaska.

Norwegian Jewel, departing Saturdays, will sail a series of seven-day Sawyer Glacier cruises from Seattle between May 7, 2016 and September 10, 2016. Departing Sundays, Norwegian Pearl will set sail on seven-day Glacier Bay itineraries from May 15, 2016 through September 18, 2016. Both itineraries feature stops in Ketchikan; Juneau; Skagway, Alaska; and Victoria, British Columbia.

For those wishing to cruise on a longer Alaska itinerary, Norwegian Jewel will sail one ten-day Glacier Bay itinerary on September 17, 2016, and will visit Ketchikan; Juneau; Skagway; Icy Strait Point; and Sitka, Alaska; and Victoria, British Columbia.

Norwegian Pearl will offer a 10-day Glacier Bay itinerary from Vancouver on May 5, 2016, stopping in Juneau; Skagway; Sitka; Icy Strait Point; and Ketchikan, Alaska; and Victoria, British Columbia.

Norwegian Sun will sail seven-day Glacier Bay one-way cruises between Vancouver, British Columbia and Seward, Alaska every other week from May 30, 2016 through September 5, 2016. Sailing north from Vancouver, guests will enjoy a cruise through the Inside Passage, Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and visits to Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau, Alaska. On Norwegian Sun's Southbound seven-day Sawyer Glacier one-way itineraries from Seward, Alaska, sailing every other week from June 6 to September 12, 2016, guests will cruise the Inside Passage, Sawyer Glacier and Hubbard Glacier and enjoy stops in Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska. Norwegian Sun's one-way cruises give guests the opportunity to see more of beautiful Alaska and make their cruise an adventure by adding on a pre or post-cruise CruiseTour, giving guests the chance to experience more of Alaska.

Norwegian Sun will also offer three seven-day Glacier Bay roundtrip cruises from Vancouver on May 16, 2016, May 23, 2016, and September 19, 2016. Ports of call will include Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska, and will include cruising the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay.

Europe

Norwegian will offer a four-ship deployment in Europe during the summer of 2016. Norwegian Epic will remain in Europe year-round from her homeport in Barcelona, sailing seven-day Western Mediterranean itineraries from April 17, 2016 to November 20, 2016. Her exciting ports of call include Naples, Italy; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy; Cannes, France; and Palma, Majorca, Spain.

On November 27 and December 28, 2016, and February 19, March 12, and April 13, 2017, Norwegian Epic will sail a 10-Day Canary Islands & Morocco itinerary. Her stops will include Tangier, Morocco; Las Palmas, Canary Islands; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands; Funchal, Madeira; and Granada (Malaga), Spain. Norwegian Epic will also sail an 11-Day Western Mediterranean itinerary on December 7, 2016 and January 7 and 18, February 8, March 1 and 22, and April 2, 2017. Ports of call include Cagliari, Sardinia; Messina, Sicily; Naples, Italy; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy; and Palma, Majorca, Spain.

Norwegian Star will return to the Baltic, offering nine-day cruises from Copenhagen, Denmark on May 8 and 24, June 2 and 25, and July 4 to September 5, 2016. This exciting itinerary includes an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as a scenic sail through the Stockholm Archipelago following the ship's afternoon departure from Stockholm, Sweden. Other calls include Warnemünde, Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; and Helsinki, Finland.

On June 11, 2016, Norwegian Star will sail a 14-day North Cape itinerary, during the summer solstice. This incredible itinerary will set sail from Copenhagen, Denmark and will visit the best of Norway including Alesund, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Trondheim, Leknes, Tromso, Hammerfest, Honningsvag, Molde, and Bergen, Norway. This itinerary can also be combined with a nine-day Baltic Capitals itinerary for the ultimate northern Europe experience.

Norwegian Star will also sail two seven-day Norwegian Fjords itineraries from Copenhagen, on May 1 and 17, 2016. This breathtaking itinerary will sail through the beautiful fjords of southern Norway featuring stops in Alesund, Geiranger, Flam and Bergen.

Norwegian Star will also sail a 14-Day Norway, Iceland, & Faroe Islands cruise from Copenhagen on September 14, 2016. Port calls will include Bergen and Alesund, Norway; Lerwick, Shetland Islands; Thorshavn, Faroe Islands; Reykjavik, Iceland; Greenock, Scotland; and Dublin, Ireland.

Norwegian Jade will return to Venice and sail alternating seven-day Greek Isles and seven-day Adriatic, Greece & Turkey itineraries from May to October 2016. Guests may also choose to combine these two exciting itineraries to enjoy the ultimate 14-day adventure. The Greek Isles sailings will run from May 7, 2016 to October 1, 2016 with calls in Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, and Olympia (Katakolon), Greece, while the Adriatic, Greece & Turkey itinerary includes Dubrovnik, Croatia; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; and Split, Croatia from May 14, 2016 to September 24, 2016.

For an incredible combination of eastern and western Mediterranean itineraries, guests can embark on Norwegian Spirit's 12-day Grand Mediterranean from Venice on May 19, June 12, July 6, August 1 and 25, September 18, October 12, and November 5, 2016. This incredible itinerary visits five different countries, with calls in Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Kusadasi) and Istanbul, Turkey; Mykonos, Greece; Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia), and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy; and Provence (Toulon), France.

Additionally, Norwegian Spirit will sail a 12-day Grand Mediterranean one-way itinerary from Barcelona to Venice on May 7 and 31, June 24, August 13, September 16 and 30, and October 24, 2016. Her stops include Provence (Toulon), France; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), and Naples, Italy; Mykonos, Greece; Istanbul and Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; and Venice, Italy.

Norwegian Spirit will also sail a spectacular 14-day Grand Mediterranean open-jaw itinerary from Barcelona to Venice on July 18, 2016. Port of call include Provence (Toulon), France; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), and Naples, Italy; Mykonos, Greece; Istanbul and Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Kotor, Montenegro; and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Bahamas and Florida

Norwegian Gem will sail seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises from New York in 2016 from April 30, 2016 to May 14, 2016 and from June 18, 2016 to August 27, 2016. This popular family-friendly itinerary includes visits to Orlando and the Beaches (Port Canaveral), Norwegian's private island Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas. Along with recent enhancements to add brand favorites Sugarcane Mojito Bar and O'Sheehans Neighborhood Bar & Grill, Norwegian Gem also features exclusive Nickelodeon? programming on board.

On May 21, 2016 and June 4, 2016, Norwegian Gem will sail eight-day Bahamas and Florida sailings that feature an additional sea day, as well as a full day in Orlando and the Beaches (Port Canaveral).

For a shorter cruise option, Norwegian Sky will continue sailing three and four-day cruises to the Bahamas year-round from Miami departing Fridays and Mondays. Ports of call include: Nassau, Grand Bahama Island, and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private island.

Norwegian Getaway will also sail a one-time two-day Bahamas itinerary from Miami on September 2, 2016, stopping in Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.

Canada & New England

Norwegian Gem will again offer two summer Canada & New England roundtrip cruises from New York City in 2016. These six-day sailings on May 29 and June 12, 2016 call in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Portland, Maine.

Norwegian Gem will also offer seven-day cruises roundtrip from New York City from September 3 to October 8, 2016, visiting four beautiful ports of call: Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Portland, Maine; and Newport, Rhode Island.

Norwegian Dawn will offer one-way seven-day cruises between Boston, Massachusetts and Quebec City, Quebec from September 9 to 30, 2016. The northbound itinerary features visit to Portland, Maine; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Gaspésie, Quebec; and Saguenay (La Baie), Quebec, while the southbound route begins with an overnight in Quebec City, Quebec and then visits Sydney, Nova Scotia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Bar Harbor, Maine. These sailings can be combined for an ultimate 14-day Canada & New England experience.

Hawaii

The recently-enhanced Pride of America will continue to sail her very popular seven-day Hawaii itinerary departing from Honolulu every Saturday through April 2018. Offering more than 100 hours of sight-seeing time, ports of call include an overnight in Kahului, Maui; Hilo, Hawai`i; Kona, Hawai`i; an overnight in Nãwiliwili, Kaua`i; and an afternoon cruise past the breathtaking Nãpali Coast.

Panama Canal

Back by popular demand, Norwegian Pearl will sail 11- and 10-day Panama Canal itineraries from Miami beginning fall 2016. The 10-day Panama Canal sails November 28 and December 19, 2016, and March 13 and April 3, 2017, with calls in Oranjestad, Aruba; Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. The 11-day Panama Canal on December 29, 2016 will include port calls in Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya, Mexico.

An alternate 11-day Panama Canal round-trip itinerary on November 17 and December 8, 2016, and March 23, 2017 will include calls in Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; and Costa Maya, Mexico.

South America

Norwegian Sun returns to South America to sail 14-day South American one-way Westbound itineraries from Buenos Aires to Santiago (Valparaiso) and Eastbound from Santiago (Valparaiso) to Buenos Aires. The 14-day South America from Buenos Aires (Westbound) sails on December 3 and 31, 2016 and January 28, February 25, and March 25, 2017, with calls including Montevideo, Uruguay; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; Stanley, Falkland Islands; Ushuaia, Argentina; Punta Arenas, Chile; Puerto Chacabuco, Chile; and Puerto Montt, Chile. During the cruise, guests will sail Cape Horn, across the Beagle Channel offering breathtaking glacier views, the Strait of Magellan, the majestic Chilean Fjords, the Patagonic Channels, and Canal Moraleda.

The 14-day South America cruise from Santiago (Valparaiso) sails on November 19 and December 17, 2016 and January 14, February 11, and March 11, 2017 with calls in Puerto Montt, Chile; Puerto Chacabuco, Chile; Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Stanley, Falkland Islands; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; and Montevideo, Uruguay. During the Eastbound cruises, guests will also cruise the Patagonic Channels, Chilean Fjords, Strait of Magellan; Beagle Channel, and Cape Horn. Guests can also choose to extend their South American exploration with a CruiseTour, providing an unparalleled opportunity to explore this region's culture and spectacular destinations such as Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls and Easter Island.

Mexican Riviera

Norwegian returns to the Mexican Riviera, offerings cruises from two different homeports. Norwegian Jewel will sail a seven-day itinerary from Los Angeles from October 2, 2016 to April 23, 2017, with calls in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Norwegian Sun will sail an 11-day Mexican Rivera itinerary from San Diego on September 30, 2016 and October 11 and 22, 2016. Ports of call will include Acapulco; Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa; an overnight call in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Repositioning Cruises

In spring of 2015, Norwegian will offer a variety of once-in-a-lifetime repositioning cruises including Caribbean repositioning, Transatlantic cruises and Pacific Coastal itineraries.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 43.19 - 2.00%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 78.78 - 0.57%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.71 - 0.74%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 43.74 - 2.69%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ship carried U.S. president Woodrow Wilson to France for the Versailles peace conference?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Cunard's Queen Mary 2 carries a distictive item that was originally installed on board the original Queen Mary which is now serving as a hotel in Long Beach, California. What is this distinctive item?

Answer - The distinctive item is the starboard typhoon (ship horn) at the funnel that is from the Queen Mary of 1936.
courtesy of liberte50 at t-online.de


Cruise News - December 8, 2014

Celebrity Cruises Orders Two New Ships
Celebrity Cruises has signed of a letter of intent for a new class of vessels, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and French shipbuilder STX France announced today. The two 2,900-guest, 117,000-gross-registered-ton ships, developed under the project name EDGE will build upon the modern luxury experience of the brand's Millennium and Solstice class vessels.

Celebrity Cruises Orders Two New ShipsAt 984 feet long, 123 feet wide and 190 feet high, Project EDGE will deliver small ship itineraries with large ship amenities, a perfect vacation experience in step with today's premium vacationer.

"The addition of two project EDGE vessels to our fleet delivers on our long-term strategic plan of moderate capacity growth, and continues the positive momentum the Celebrity brand has achieved in the premium segment of our industry," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

"Our new class of ship will set the standard for premium world travel and deliver the next generation of modern luxury experiences that our guests know and love," said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of Celebrity Cruises. "STX France designs and builds some of the most innovative and stylish cruise ships in the world, and project EDGE offers them the opportunity to again set a new standard for modern iconic architecture. On this stunning new ship we will bring our guests even closer to the must-see destinations of the world, while indulging them onboard in the most luxurious accommodations, the finest culinary experiences, and the best hospitality delivered by our dedicated staff."

"We are excited to be collaborating with Celebrity on this dramatic step forward in premium cruise ship design," said Laurent Castaing, managing director of STX France. "This class of ships will be designed to deliver the destination to vacationers who want to experience all the world has to offer."

These vessels also represent a significant leap forward in environmentally friendly ship design, benefiting from new technologies to drive significant fuel efficiency and an ongoing process to ensure the extensive use of sustainable materials.

The company expects delivery of the first ship in Fall 2018, with the second vessel delivered in the early part of 2020. The order is contingent upon the completion of customary conditions, including financing.

Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are $1.4 billion, $1.5 billion, $2.3 billion, $0.4 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively.

Capacity increases for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are expected to be 2.4%, 5.5%, 6.7%, 3.8% and 4.3%, respectively. These figures do not include potential ship sales or additions that the company may elect to make in the future.

Virgin Group Announces Plans to Make Waves in the Cruise Industry
Virgin Group, the Branson family-owned branded investment group, today announced the formation of Virgin Cruises, its new cruise line business, as well as the appointment of a CEO and its lead investment partner, Bain Capital. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Proven industry leader Tom McAlpin will join Virgin Cruises as CEO and will head the management team. Most recently, Tom has been President and CEO of The World, Residences at Sea. Tom also served as President of Disney Cruise Line having joined as part of the founding management team.

Virgin Group Announces Plans to Make Waves in the Cruise IndustryVirgin Cruises will be headquartered in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area and plans to design and construct two new world class cruise ships. At this time, the company has not disclosed when it will start operating for competitive reasons. As part of one of the world's most recognized and respected brands, Virgin Cruises will offer guests an outstanding experience and service aimed at broadening consumer targets for the cruise market.

Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson said, "We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love. They'll be sailing on the latest ships offering great quality, a real sense of fun, and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service."

Stephen Pagliuca, a Managing Director with Bain Capital, said, "From our earliest conversations with the Virgin team, we recognized there is a unique opportunity here to help build the next great cruise line serving travelers from around the world. We know that thanks to the strategic vision laid out by our collective team - and now under the guidance of Tom McAlpin - Virgin Cruises will help reshape consumers' expectations of what a cruise experience can be. All of us at Bain Capital are thrilled to partner with the Virgin team on this compelling opportunity."

Tom McAlpin said, "Cruise guests deserve something better and different to what is being offered today, and Virgin Cruises is committed to creating breathtaking experiences for them and a new generation of guests. Opportunities like this do not come often, so I am very excited to lead this business and introduce the Virgin brand to the cruise industry, as it has always put customers at the heart of what it does."

Virgin Group has partnered with one of the world's leading private investment firms, Bain Capital, to work on this new venture. The partnership is committed to exploring the creation of a global cruise business and setting new industry standards.

Ryan Cotton, a Principal with Bain Capital, said, "We are pleased to pursue this exciting opportunity with Virgin, one of the world's most respected and iconic brands. With a small number of global players, an experience in need of refreshing, and consumers ready for something new and exciting, the industry exhibits all the characteristics of one that is ripe for a new entrant. Drawing on our long history of growing and building great companies, we are confident that together with Virgin and the management team we will build Virgin Cruises into a new favorite for leisure travelers."

Evan Lovell, Partner at Virgin Management Limited said, "Virgin Cruises complements our extensive travel and leisure experience, which includes our award winning global airlines, passenger train service, and new hotel brand which will open its first property in Chicago next month. We are thrilled that Bain Capital is joining us on this journey."

Allen & Company LLC is advising Virgin Group on the transaction.

New CEOs for Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises
Recognizing the deep bench of internal talent that has powered its long-term success, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (NYSE, OSLO: RCL) named two senior company executives to chart the future course of the company's two largest brands.

Michael Bayley, who worked his way up from an assistant purser's position aboard the Nordic Prince, will serve as President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, the world's largest cruise brand. Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, whose career at the company began in the New England sales office, will serve as President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, a leader in the premium market.

New CEOs for Royal Caribbean adn CelebrityBoth appointments are effective immediately.

Said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd: "This is a happy day for Michael and Lisa, and a proud day for all of us at the company. To recognize these two incredibly talented people with these vital leadership positions after years of dedication, effort and innovative thinking is gratifying for everyone here. I am impressed with the skills they have demonstrated over the course of their careers, and I am excited to see where they take these powerful brands next."

Bayley assumes Royal's helm after a successful term as Celebrity's President and CEO. At Celebrity, he delivered strong results while building the company's "modern luxury" positioning, which resonated successfully with Celebrity's sophisticated customer base. Before his Celebrity role, Bayley served in several senior roles at Royal Caribbean International, including Executive Vice President of Operations. He is credited for playing a key role in the company's international expansion, helping launch company operations in markets around the world.

Said Bayley: "Royal Caribbean International is a brand with an incredible history – and unlimited potential. The ships, personified in the new Quantum class, are some of the best and most innovative in the world. And the crews that service Royal Caribbean International guests have a track record of delighting guests from every culture around the world. I look forward to an exciting future as we raise our game to an even higher level of performance."

Lutoff-Perlo began her company career as a district sales manager in her native New England. She moves to her new role from her position as Executive Vice President, Operations at Royal Caribbean, where she played a critical role in the recent successful launch of Quantum of the Seas, the first in the company's newest class of ships. After a successful sales career, Lutoff-Perlo made her mark as a specialist at bringing new ships to market for both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity. In addition to the Quantum class, she played a key role in the launch of Royal Caribbean International's Voyager and Radiance classes, as well as Celebrity's Solstice Class.

Said Lutoff-Perlo: "Celebrity Cruises has done a remarkable job differentiating itself in a crowded and competitive premium marketplace, and with its newly announced Edge class ships, the brand has the opportunity to push its leadership position even farther. I'm excited to tackle that challenge with a team of men and women I know well, including crews that consistently exceed our guests' highest expectations."

Fain said: "No one who has seen either of these two exceptional executives in action can be surprised by their continuing growth as leaders. As a company, we have a mantra of continuous improvement; in Michael and Lisa, we have two talented leaders who will help us continue to deliver on that commitment to our shareholders, employees and guests."

Norwegian Cruise Line Sets Sail For Exclusive Partnership With Margaritaville
Cruisers should get their Fins Up and shakers of salt ready, as the first-ever floating Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant and 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar will soon set sail onboard the all-new Norwegian Escape. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH) Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheehan announced the news at a company-wide event, with the help of a very special guest ? the legendary Jimmy Buffett who performed for the crowd. Norwegian's exclusive partnership with Margaritaville Holdings LLC extends to Norwegian's island destinations including the new Harvest Caye in Belize and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, as well as other ships in the fleet.

Norwegian Cruise Line Sets Sail For Exclusive Partnership With Margaritaville"Jimmy Buffett is an icon who embodies the island lifestyle and his Margaritaville lifestyle brand which includes restaurants and bars in its portfolio is a perfect fit for Norwegian Cruise Line and the incredible new Norwegian Escape, that will sail the Caribbean and offer our guests the first and only Margaritaville experience at sea," said Sheehan. "We are more than thrilled to form this exclusive partnership with Jimmy and his talented team and we know our guests are going to love the new tropical experiences."

Margaritaville's iconic name brings to mind the desire in everyone to kick back and escape the everyday, if only for a few hours or days. Norwegian Escape's Margaritaville restaurant and bar will embody that essence of escapism with a laid back atmosphere inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett. Nostalgic island moments will come to life with a menu that invites guests to take a bite out of paradise with signature items like the Cheeseburger in Paradise and Who's to Blame Margarita. This venue will be one of Norwegian Escape's many complimentary dining outlets. In addition to the restaurant, Norwegian Escape will feature the 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar, a music venue and outdoor bar on The Waterfront. The 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar will feature live nightly performances so guests can enjoy the sounds of the tropics while sipping a signature margarita or "boat drink" and gazing out to the beautiful Caribbean Sea.

"This partnership is a perfect match between two brands that celebrate escapism, relaxing and having fun," said John Cohlan, chief executive officer of Margaritaville. "Opening our first Margaritaville at Sea on Norwegian Escape will be a huge milestone for our company. We can't wait to bring the Margaritaville experience to Norwegian guests and let the floating ?fin' begin!"

Along with the venues on Norwegian Escape, the partnership also includes Margaritaville branded food and beverage locations on Norwegian's new island destination in Harvest Caye, Belize, set to open in fall 2015 and a 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar on Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, planned to also debut in 2015. In the future, the partnership will extend to other ships in the fleet.

Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean beginning on November 14, 2015. The ship will be the largest to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines reveals its new ‘Arctic Explorer’ voyage
Following the success of its first-ever 'Arctic Explorer' cruise for 2015 – which sold out within a week! – Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is again offering guests the chance to experience the awe-inspiring Arctic, one of the most hard-to-reach regions of the world, in Summer 2016. Black Watch's 26-night W1610 ‘Arctic Explorer’ voyage, departing from Tilbury on 17th July 2016, will allow guests to cross the Arctic Circle, witness the majestic fjords of Norway, take in the peaks and pinnacles of Iceland and Greenland, and have a chance at spotting some of the world’s most elusive wildlife – maybe even a Polar Bear!

With three stops in Greenland, this Fred. Olsen Arctic adventure is a unique opportunity to see wonderful wildlife, explore little-known cultures and enjoy some of the best scenic cruising available anywhere! As no direct flights operate out of the UK to this far-flung destination, visiting on a cruise ship is one of the best ways to take it all in; and, because Black Watch is a smaller ship, she is able to take guests even closer to the heart of the destination.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines reveals its new Arctic Explorer voyageThis intrepid Arctic ‘sailing of a lifetime’ will call first at Kristiansund in Norway, which is said to be where the first Norwegians lived. From here, guests can take part is some sightseeing along the harbour front, on board the ‘Sundboat’ – a boat service that has operated since 1876, making it one of the oldest public transport services in existence.

Next, guests should seek out a great position out on deck ready for some fantastic scenic cruising. Passing Rørvik, Torghatten, Seven Sisters Mountain Range – where Black Watch will cross the Arctic Circle – and ‘The Black Glacier’, there will be ample opportunity to take some stunning photographs.

Black Watch then makes a stop at Tromsø – where guests can visit the oldest wooden house in Norway, built in 1789 – and the Arctic Cathedral, a modern church and one of its most famous landmarks.

The cruise then continues to Honningsvåg, the northernmost city in Norway, framed by rugged mountains and the icy Arctic Ocean.

Black Watch then cruises the scenic North Cape, weaving around ‘Bear Island’ and onto desolate and wild Longyearbyen, in Spitsbergen (Svalbard). The beauty of this town is its quiet and serene atmosphere, bypassed by civilisation and overwhelmed by ‘Mother Nature’ – guests are recommended to try the famous Husky dog-sledding, and experience the natural phenomenon of the ‘Midnight Sun’, where the sun is visible 24 hours a day during the Norwegian Summer Season.

Black Watch then cruises the magnificent Tempelfjorden, an inner branch of the Sassenfjorden, near Spitsbergen, and then it is onto Barentsberg, home to only 500 inhabitants, and the second largest town on Svalbard; cruising with Fred. Olsen is one of the few ways in which visitors can reach this remote European outpost.

A cruise around the impressive Jan Mayen Island is next; this volcanic outcrop sits in the Arctic Ocean, and has just one small settlement, called ‘Olonkinbyen’.

Next stop is Iceland’s Akureyri, where ‘culture vultures’ should visit the ‘Street of Arts’, before cruising through Drangaskörd, Eyjafjördur – Iceland’s longest fjord – as well as Hælavikurbjarg and Hornbjarg and Latrabjarg.

Next is Iceland’s breath-taking capital city, Reykjavik. Here, guests can bask in the ambience of the Blue Lagoon, the ultimate relaxation in one of the world’s best natural springs; feel the piercing chill of the Icelandic winds, combined with the steamy warmth of the lagoon’s waters. With a stopover in this thrilling capital, guests will have plenty of time to explore and sample the Thingvellir National Park and the Gullfoss and Seljalandfoss waterfalls.

Black Watch will then take a leisurely cruise though the Prins Christiansund channel, before setting sail for Greenland.

Black Watch will make her first port of call in Greenland at Qaqortoq, the most populous town in South Greenland. With a pleasant centre, a small square and Greenland's oldest fountain, there is an array of strikingly beautiful colonial buildings, dating from the establishment of the town in 1775.

Next port of call is Narsarsuaq, nestled on the banks of the Tunulliarfik Fjord. The area became home to a United States Air Base in 1941, when it served as a ‘stepping stone’ to the battle grounds of Europe. Whilst fascinating relics still remain, this quaint settlement is now more commonly used as a station from which adventurers can explore the magical Qoroq Ice Fjord.

The landscape is unspoiled and picturesque in the last Greenland port, Nanortalik. Guests will be welcomed by an abundance of delicate purple and lilac flowers, creeping through the cracks in the mountains surface. There is much to explore here, from the thrill of kayaking, to fascinating museums, which feature exhibitions on the Inuit culture that superseded the Norsemen, who settled before them, around 1,000 years ago.

Black Watch then makes her final stop at Kirkwall, on the Orkney Islands in Scotland. Surrounded by windswept countryside, guests can take a tour to visit the 5,000-year-old Neolithic village of Skara Brae.

Carnival To Offer Longer Length Voyages In 2015-16
Carnival Cruise Lines will offer a series of unforgettable 10- to 14-day voyages on six different ships between October 2015 and February 2016 that feature extended calls at magnificent destinations throughout the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexican Riviera and The Bahamas.

Carnival Cruise Lines will offer a series of unforgettable 10- to 14-day voyages on six different ships between October 2015 and February 2016Reservations opened today on 11 different voyages offered on Carnival Miracle, Carnival Dream, Carnival Glory and Carnival Sunshine which depart from Long Beach, Calif., Port Canaveral, Fla., San Juan, Miami, and New Orleans and visit more than two dozen tropical destinations, including less traveled ports like Bonaire, Martinique, Dominica, Grenada and, for the first time on a Carnival ship, Tobago. Several of the 10- and 11-day voyages can be combined into three-week-long Caribbean adventures providing an unmatched combination of breathtaking ports of call, amazing experiences ashore, and fun-filled sea days, all at an incredible value.

These new voyages are in addition to a previously announced series of nine 10- to 14-day departures to the Caribbean and Bermuda offered on Carnival Triumph from Galveston and Carnival Pride from Baltimore in 2015-16.

"Based on feedback from our guests and travel agent partners, we're delighted to offer these longer length voyages which provide vacationers an opportunity to visit some of the world's most breathtaking destinations while enjoying all the wonderful on-board innovations and features found aboard Carnival's ships," said Terry Thornton, Carnival's senior vice president of itinerary planning.

The new voyages include:

Carnival Dream

• Oct. 4-15, 2015: 11-day Caribbean/Bermuda cruise from New Orleans to San Juan featuring Nassau, King's Wharf, Bermuda (overnight call), St. Maarten and St. Thomas.
• Oct. 15-25, 2015: 10-day Caribbean cruise from San Juan to New Orleans with calls at St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Grand Turk, and Falmouth, Jamaica (the above two cruises can be combined to create a 21-day round-trip voyage from New Orleans).
• Jan. 3-14, 2016: 11-day southern Caribbean cruise from New Orleans to San Juan with stops at Grand Turk, Aruba, Bonaire, St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Maarten
• Jan. 14-25, 2016: a 10-day Caribbean cruise from San Juan to New Orleans calling at St. Thomas, Dominica, St. Kitts, Grand Turk and Falmouth (the above two cruises can be combined to create a 21-day round-trip voyage from New Orleans).

Carnival Glory

• Oct. 31–Nov. 14, 2015: 14-day Caribbean cruise round-trip from Miami visiting Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.
• Jan. 23-Feb. 2, 2016: 10-day cruise from Miami to San Juan calling at the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Antigua, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Thomas.
• Feb. 2-13, 2016: 11-day cruise from San Juan to Miami visiting St. Croix, St. Maarten, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, and Curacao (the above two cruises can be combined to create a 21-day round-trip voyage from Miami).

Carnival Sunshine

• Nov. 28-Dec. 9, 2015: 11-day Caribbean/Bahamas voyage from Port Canaveral, Fla., to San Juan visiting Grand Turk, St. Thomas, Tortola, St. Kitts, Dominica, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Croix.
• Dec. 9-19, 2015: 10-day Caribbean cruise from San Juan to Port Canaveral featuring St. Thomas, Antigua, Dominica, Martinique, St. Croix, and Grand Turk (the above two cruises can be combined to create a 21-day voyage round-trip from Port Canaveral).
• Feb. 21-March 5, 2016: 13-day southern Caribbean cruise round-trip from Port Canaveral calling at St. Maarten, Dominica, Barbados, Scarborough (Tobago), Grenada, Martinique, St. Kitts and St. Thomas.

Carnival Miracle

• Jan. 31- Feb. 12, 2016: 13-day Mexican Riviera voyage round-trip from Long Beach, Calif., calling at Cabo San Lucas (two-day call), La Paz, Mazatlan, Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa, Manzanillo, and Puerto Vallarta (overnight call).

In addition to dining, entertainment and activity options available on board, each of these destinations offers beautiful beaches, interesting historical attractions and natural landmarks, and unique sightseeing, dining and shopping opportunities. During these cruises, guests can zipline across the lush countryside, view centuries-old architectural structures, visit world-class museums, and snorkel and scuba dive in crystal-clear waters teeming with tropical fish and other sea life.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 44.07 + 3.96%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 79.23 + 9.60%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.69 + 1.13%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 44.95 + 5.37%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 carries a distictive item that was originally installed on board the original Queen Mary which is now serving as a hotel in Long Beach, California. What is this distinctive item?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - This week we have another visual Cruise Trivia Question. The picture below was featured in a cruise brochure from the 1960's. Name the ship.

Answer - It`s the 1st class sports deck of the SS Rotterdam of the Holland-America Line
courtesy of liberte50 at t-online.de


Cruise News - December 1, 2014

Seabourn Orders Second 604 Passenger Ship
Seabourn has announced that it has exercised its option for a second new 40,350-GRT ship to be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. It will be a sister ship to the newbuild announced earlier this year. The first new Seabourn ship is scheduled for delivery in late 2016, and the second ship will be delivered in spring, 2018.

Seabourn Orders Second 604 Passenger Ship Hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany will also design the second new ship in its entirety, creating all indoor and outdoor guest areas, including multiple dining venues; the Spa at Seabourn; showrooms; casino and lounges; outdoor deck areas; and the innovative and popular Seabourn Square, the social hub of the ship with a club-like ambiance.

"There has been an incredible amount of excitement and interest since we announced the order for the first ship, and we're very pleased that the demand for our brand has allowed us to add a second new ultra-luxury ship to our expanding fleet," said Richard D. Meadows, Seabourn's president. "These two new ships will offer the understated elegance we are known for, as well as new amenities, innovations and modern design features that embody the hallmarks of Seabourn."

Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri Chief Executive Officer, stated: "When dealing with such important investments, exercising an option should never be taken for granted. We are very glad that Seabourn decided to 'double' its trust in us, especially considering that our partnership is very young and getting stronger quickly. I believe that this clearly demonstrates that new clients as well as old, such as Seabourn's parent company Carnival Corporation, and the market as a whole, consider Fincantieri as the world leader in the cutting-edge cruise line sector including the ultra-luxury segment where our partner for this project operates."

The new ships' configuration will be based on the highly popular Seabourn Odyssey-class ships, with one additional deck and new expanded public areas. Each ship will carry just 604 guests based on double occupancy in luxurious all-suite, veranda accommodations. The interior design will maintain Seabourn's high ratio of space per guest and enable highly personalized service by nearly one staff member per guest on board.

Both of the new ships will continue the fleet modernization that the line began in 2009 with the launch of Seabourn Odyssey. This award-winning new class of ship, which includes Seabourn Sojourn (2010) and Seabourn Quest (2011), has won acclaim from luxury cruisers, travel agents and journalists alike, one of whom proclaimed the design "a game-changer for the ultra-luxury cruise segment." With the addition of these two new vessels, Seabourn will have the most modern, ultra-luxury fleet in the industry.

The vessels will replace the capacity that is leaving the Seabourn brand with the sale of Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend. These ships will be transferred to their new owners in April 2014, April 2015 and May 2015, respectively.

Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas Returns from Drydock
Holland America Line announced today that effective Dec. 1, Orlando Ashford will join the company as president Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas, the largest cruise ship based in Asia Pacific, has just successfully completed her month-long $80 million revitalization bringing guests in the region a variety of first-at-sea features such as the FlowRider surf simulator and Virtual Balcony staterooms.

In addition the ship also received a 3D cinema, digital signage, a new Diamond Club for Crown and Anchor Society members as well as new dining options including Izumi Japanese Cuisine, Giovanni’s Table Italian trattoria and Chops Grille steakhouse. The ship’s revitalization was carried out under a contract with Sembawang Shipyard, a subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine Ltd. and is also the largest cruise ship revitalization project ever completed in Singapore. The newly revitalized ship is sailing today from Singapore to Sydney where she will be based for her 2014/15 winter-spring season. She will then return to Singapore next April to feature a 10-night cruise to Tokyo calling at Nha Trang, Hong Kong, Taipei (Keelung) and Nagasaki.

The ship also will homeport in Hong Kong from June to October 2015 with 22 roundtrip sailings ranging from three- to 10-nights and visit ports-of-call including Okinawa, Nagasaki, Japan; Jeju, South Korea; Sanya, China; Ho Chi Minh and Hue/Danang (Chan May), Vietnam.

Royal Caribbean to Transfer Majesty of the Seas to Pullmantur
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced that Majesty of the Seas will transfer from its Royal Caribbean International cruise brand to its Pullmantur brand in 2016. Majesty of the Seas' last 3-night sailing for Royal Caribbean International will depart on April 29, 2016. She will then enter dry dock before joining the Pullmantur fleet, allowing her to be tailored to fit Pullmantur's brand standards and offerings.

Holland America Line announced today that effective Dec. 1, Orlando Ashford will join the company as president "Majesty of the Seas has created wonderful memories for millions of guests, and we expect this record of success to continue as she transitions to Pullmantur," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "The vessel's transfer is an excellent business opportunity for both Royal Caribbean and Pullmantur. We are fortunate that our mix of brands allows us the flexibility and opportunity to expand in key strategic markets."

With the addition of Majesty of the Seas, Pullmantur's total guest capacity will increase by more than 20 percent.

"The transfer of Majesty of the Seas will play an important role in Pullmantur's Latin American growth strategy, and helps us become one of the most widely recognized brands in that market," said Pullmantur's president and chief executive officer, Jorge Vilches. "The additional capacity will help us meet the rising demand for Pullmantur's distinctive Latin-style cruise holidays."

Majesty of the Seas was built at Chantiers de L'Atlantique (now STX France) in St. Nazaire, France and sailed its maiden voyage on April 26, 1992. The 74,077-ton ship carries 2,350 guests (double occupancy) and 912 crew. Most recently, Majesty of the Seas was sailing year-round three- and four-night cruises from Miami, often visiting Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay, Bahamas. While Majesty of the Seas caters to all types of cruise passengers, she is known for her first-time cruisers, offering newcomers the opportunity to get a feel of the cruising experience. Following the transition, all three Sovereign class ships - Sovereign, Monarch, and Majesty - will be operated by Pullmantur Cruises.

Over the past 40 years, Pullmantur has built a position as the leader in the Spanish cruise market. Since 2006 it has belonged to U.S.based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Currently, Pullmantur's fleet of five ships has a daily capacity of more than 11,000 passengers. Since 2013, it has promoted a strategic growth plan in the Latin American cruise market, where more than half of its business is located.

Cunard Line to Welcome Shirley Jones Aboard Queen Victoria’s 2015 World Cruise
Cunard Line is thrilled to announce that Academy Award® winning actress Shirley Jones will sail aboard Queen Victoria as a Cunard Insights speaker during the 2-17 February 2015 Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles segment of the World Cruise. Jones will be accompanied by her husband, actor and comedian Marty Ingels. Fans and guests on board the ship will enjoy a book signing of her recently released biography, Shirley Jones: A Memoir, as well as two Q&A sessions and screenings of her films.

Cunard Line to Welcome  Shirley Jones Aboard Queen Victoria’s 2015 World CruiseShirley Jones starred in the film adaptations of several musicals in the 1950s and 60s, including Richard Rodgers’ and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” (1955), “Carousel” (1956) and “The Music Man” (1962). Although she won an Academy Award® for her controversial role in the film “Elmer Gantry” (1960), it was her role as the lovable matriarch in the hit 1970s TV show “The Partridge Family” that won the hearts of millions.

“We are delighted to welcome Shirley Jones aboard Queen Victoria in February,” said David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line. “Her work in iconic films such as ‘Oklahoma!’ and her role in ‘The Partridge Family’ are beloved among Cunard’s guests, and we are certain they will enjoy this unique opportunity to learn more about Shirley during the 15-night sailing.”

“I am overjoyed to travel on board Queen Victoria,” Shirley Jones said. “I have never sailed with Cunard before, nor have I traveled through the Panama Canal. I look forward to this adventure and the chance to experience Cunard’s heritage, as well as a chance to meet my fans along the way.”

Shirley Jones will be a part of Cunard Line’s illustrious history of hosting famed entertainers with peerless cachet. Legendary notables such as Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant and Clark Gable frequently crossed the Atlantic on Cunard’s earlier Queens, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. Among the many celebrities who have sailed over recent years are Wes Anderson, Tilda Swinton and James Taylor. Since Queen Victoria was launched in 2007, she has welcomed distinguished visitors such as HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Duchess of Cornwall.

Financial Highlights
On October 14, 2014, Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) announced a quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 (U.S.) per shareOn October 14, 2014, Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) announced a quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 (U.S.) per share. The dividend is payable on December 12, 2014, to shareholders of record on November 21, 2014.

Holders of Carnival Corporation common stock or Carnival plc ADSs will receive a dividend payable in U.S. dollars. The dividend for Carnival plc ordinary shares will be payable in sterling unless shareholders elected to receive the dividend in U.S. dollars by November 21, 2014.

Dividends payable in sterling will be converted from U.S. dollars at the exchange rate quoted by the Bank of England in London at 12 noon on December 1, 2014 (US$1 = 63.66183 pence). Accordingly, the dividend payable in sterling on December 1, 2014, will be 15.91546 pence per share.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL) will replace Bemis Company Inc. (NYSE:BMS) in the S&P 500, and Bemis will replace Concur Technologies Inc. (NASD:CNQR) in the S&P MidCap 400. SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) is acquiring Concur Technologies in a deal expected to be completed soon pending final approvals. Bemis has a market capitalization that is more representative of the mid cap market space

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 42.39 + 0.95%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 72.29 + 1.42%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.66 - 4.32%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 42.66 + 1.09%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
This week we have another visual Cruise Trivia Question. The picture below was featured in a cruise brochure from the 1960's. Name the ship.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Name the former liners that were sold to the Iranian government for use as accommodation ships in the 1970's?

Answer - Those would be the former Italian Line ships, the Michaelangelo and Raffaello (which I was fortunate enough to sail on in 1974).
courtesy of Steve Alpiner


Cruise News - November 24, 2014

NCLH to Purchase Ocean Princess for Oceania
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq:NCLH) today announced a definitive agreement with Princess Cruises, Ltd. to purchase Ocean Princess for its newly acquired Oceania Cruises brand.

NCLH to Purchase Ocean Princess for OceaniaThe 684-passenger ship joins Oceania Cruises' trio of award-winning sister ships Insignia, Regatta and Nautica. The new addition will be named Sirena.

Upon delivery in March 2016, Sirena will immediately undergo a 35-day, $40 million refurbishment in Marseille, France to elevate the ship to the Oceania Cruises' standard of elegance. Drawing on the recent transformation of Insignia as inspiration, the ship will feature Oceania Cruises' renowned specialty dining restaurants, Toscana and Polo Grill, along with more recent additions to the fleet such as Baristas and the cook-to-order grill at Terrace Café. The ship will welcome her first guests in late April 2016.

The addition of Sirena, along with the recently completed refurbishment of Insignia, Nautica and Regatta, demonstrates Oceania Cruises' unwavering commitment to mid-size ships and destination orientated cruising. With Sirena, Oceania Cruises will expand the number and diversity of destination-rich itineraries offered, appealing to both seasoned world travelers and passionate cruisers.

"The acquisition of Sirena provides measured capacity growth based on the proven platform of Oceania Cruises' highly regarded mid-size ships," said Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., parent company of Oceania Cruises. "Our belief in the Oceania Cruises brand and our commitment to its growing base of loyal guests were the rationale behind our decision to bring Sirena into the fleet."

"The addition of Sirena opens up an entire array of new itinerary options for Oceania Cruises as we think about our deployment strategy," added Kunal S. Kamlani, president and chief operating officer of Oceania Cruises. "The award-winning guest experience delivered on our ships, coupled with a collection of innovative itineraries that cater to new markets, will combine for an alluring siren song for both our current and future guests."

The inaugural season for Sirena will be released in late February 2015 with reservations opening on March 4,

HAL Names New President
Holland America Line announced today that effective Dec. 1, Orlando Ashford will join the company as president to lead the award-winning cruise line's brand and business, including its fleet of 15 premium vessels carrying approximately 850,000 guests annually to all seven continents. Ashford joins the company from Mercer, the global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments, where he was president of the Talent Business Segment.

Holland America Line announced today that effective Dec. 1, Orlando Ashford will join the company as president "We are fortunate to have Orlando join our team, bringing with him a career's worth of global experience leading high-performance teams that helped innovate some of the most respected and well-known companies in the world," said Stein Kruse, chief executive officer, Holland America Group. "I am confident that Orlando's leadership will enable Holland America Line to build on its uncompromising Signature of Excellence commitment to deliver a superior guest experience that will continue generating rave reviews from our guests, travel professionals and the industry alike."

"Holland America Line is a remarkable and highly respected company that delivers exceptional experiences and indelible memories of joy and adventure to their guests," said Ashford, newly appointed president of Holland America Line. "It's a noble mission, and I am eager to get to work with this talented group of service-minded employees to unleash new ideas while building on the success of this thriving global business."

Ashford will oversee Holland America Line's sales and marketing, revenue management, deployment and itinerary planning, public relations, hotel operations and strategy. He will report to Holland America Group CEO Kruse and will be part of the Group's executive leadership team alongside brand leaders Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises; Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn and president of Cunard North America; and Ann Sherry AO, chief executive officer, Carnival Australia. Ashford will relocate to the Holland America Line headquarters office in Seattle.

Prior to his role at Mercer, Ashford served as senior vice president, chief human resources and communications officer of Mercer's parent company, Marsh & McLennan Companies. He also has held several other leadership roles during the course of his career, including group director of human resources for 90 countries in Eurasia and Africa for the Coca-Cola Company and vice president Corporate Center human resources and cultural transformation. Previously he was vice president of global human resources strategy and organizational development for Motorola, Inc. where he helped modernize the human resources function for the global tech leader.

Ashford's recently published book, Talentism, addresses the global disconnect between available jobs – more than one-third of employers worldwide cannot fill all available jobs – and the estimated 202 million eligible workers who are unemployed worldwide. Ashford examines how technology and human networks can help bridge the skills gap, improve business performance, and lead to the betterment of society at large.

Ashford is on the Board of Directors for a global manufacturing company ITT Corporation. He is among the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) 2013 and 2014 "Directorship 100," and has been honored as a Purdue University School of Technology Distinguished Alumnus. An active community supporter, he is on the Board of Directors for the Executive Leadership Council, the preeminent membership organization for the development of global black leaders, and for Streetwise Partners, an organization that brings together low-income individuals and volunteer business professionals to develop workplace skills and employment networks. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership and Industrial Technology from Purdue University.

Cunard Line Names Richard Meadows President of Cunard Line - North America
Cunard today announced that Richard Meadows has been appointed President of Cunard Line – North America, assuming operating responsibility for the iconic Cunard brand throughout the North American continent from 1 December 2014. He will report to David Noyes, CEO of Cunard Line. Meadows will retain his role as President of Seabourn, leading all business and global operations for the ultra-luxury cruise line.

Cunard Line Names Richard Meadows President of Cunard Line "With Rick having worked at so many brands within the Carnival Corporation portfolio, we are eager to leverage his knowledge, experience and skills to advance the Cunard brand in North America," said Noyes from the Line's headquarters in Southampton. "His background in leading Seabourn is particularly valuable, as he understands well the nuances of delivering superior service and enriching onboard experiences – the things that directly appeal to Cunard passengers. We are thrilled to have him join our team."

As President of Cunard – North America and Seabourn, Meadows will give his full attention to these two celebrated luxury brands, focusing in particular on generating brand awareness, growing revenues and yields, advancing exceptional product innovation and providing unmatched guest experiences. Under his leadership, Cunard and Seabourn will continue to create outstanding cruise experiences and lifetime memories for their passengers.

Meadows has held key positions at a number of Carnival Corporation & plc brands over his 29-year career with the group and has held the position of President of Seabourn since 2011. During that time, he also has served as Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Guest Programmes for Holland America Line, where he had global revenue responsibility. With his appointment as President of Cunard – North America, Meadows will gradually step away from Holland America Line to give his complete focus to his new role. "It is an incredible honour for me to help lead and serve Cunard,'" said Meadows. "I am excited about the prospect of working closely with David and the Cunard management team to enhance how we deliver luxury on a grand scale to discerning travellers in this region of the world."

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Ctrip Announce Joint Venture for Chinese Cruise Market
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Ctrip Announce Joint VentureRoyal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL) and Ctrip.com International Ltd. (NASDAQ: CTRP) today announced that they have agreed to form a strategic partnership through SkySea Cruises, a joint venture which is designed to serve the Chinese cruise market. Royal Caribbean and Ctrip will each own 35% of the new company, with the balance being owned by SkySea management and a private equity fund. The transaction is expected to close before the end of November.

"We look forward to working with Ctrip, a Chinese travel leader, to build a national cruise line for China," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "SkySea Cruises represents an important strategic milestone in our expansion efforts in the Chinese market."

"Our partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will allow us to bring the very best cruise vacations tailor-made for Chinese travelers," said Min Fan, chairman and chief executive officer of SkySea Cruises. "We expect SkySea cruises to be an integral part of China's fast growing cruise market."

The new cruise line will begin service in the middle of 2015 and will operate with one ship. The venture anticipates the potential for additional vessels to be added over time. Sales and marketing activities have commenced.

HAL's ms Koningsdam to Feature New Single and Family Staterooms
When ms Koningsdam debuts in 2016, the ship will feature Holland America Line's first-ever purpose-built staterooms for families as well as single staterooms among its 1,331 guest accommodations (total capacity is 2,650). In addition, many familiar stateroom categories such as Neptune, Signature and Vista suites will be available in a wider range of sizes and different configurations to choose from.

HAL's ms Koningsdam to Feature New Single and Family StateroomsThe 32 new specially designed family ocean-view staterooms will range from 222 to 231 square feet and feature special amenities such as two bathrooms and accommodations for five people. The 12 single ocean-view cabins will range from 127 to 172 square feet in size and will be available on multiple decks at a variety of forward, mid-ship and aft locations.

"A cruise is one of the most popular ways to travel as a family, and we continue to welcome more multigenerational groups each year. To help us better serve families, we are pleased to be able to offer these tailored staterooms on ms Koningsdam," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest programs. "And the new one-person staterooms enable us to serve the growing market of solo travelers."

With a sophisticated color palette and the freedom to design from the ground up based on guest feedback, ms Koningsdam's staterooms and suites feature a host of modern functional details such as bedside USB ports, custom casework and frameless glass shower doors that feel elegant and luxurious.

Additional amenities found in all suites and staterooms include Holland America Line's signature Mariner's Dream Bed with finely woven cotton linens, plush bathrobes for use during the voyage, a premium massage showerhead, flat-panel TV with video-on-demand, mini fridge, complimentary fresh fruit on request and fragrant soaps, lotions, shampoo and other bath amenities from Elemis Aromapure.

On ms Koningsdam, the "suite life" gets sweeter with larger, more luxurious quarters. A grand Pinnacle Suite is an expansive 1,290 square feet with a bedroom, living room, dining area, dressing room and private verandah with whirlpool. The two Neptune Spa Suites and 43 Neptune Suites range from a generous 465 to a huge 855 square feet. Neptune and Pinnacle Suite guests have access to the exclusive Neptune Lounge, a private place to relax, socialize with other suite guests and enjoy the personalized service of a concierge. The fleetwide lounges provide worktables, a large screen television, library, sofas and chairs, and complimentary refreshments throughout the day.

Pinnacle and Neptune Suite amenities also include corsages and boutonnieres for the first formal night, a cocktail party with the ship's officers, priority dining and seating requests, binoculars and umbrellas for use during the cruise, a wall-unit bar, cold hors d'oeuvres served before dinner each evening on request and complimentary laundry, pressing and dry cleaning throughout the cruise and more.

The 14 Signature Suites are up to 400 square feet in size and the 104 Vista Suites range from 260 to 356 square feet. Signature and Vista suite guests receive many special amenities, including personalized cruise stationery, oversized bath towels, fresh flowers, a pillow menu, mini bar and one-touch phone concierge service.

"Holland America Line is known in the cruise industry for providing well-appointed staterooms," said My Nguyen, Holland America Line's deputy director of interior design. "With ms Koningsdam we enhanced these qualities by including many thoughtful details that improve the functionality of the staterooms. We also adopted a color pallet that takes advantage of texture and quiet color combinations to achieve a feeling of serenity and luxuriousness in each category."

The ship will have the most staterooms with verandahs in the Holland America Line fleet with 912 total from Verandah to Pinnacle Suite categories. Guests looking to focus on health and wellness during the cruise can book verandah spa accommodations, conveniently located near the Greenhouse Spa & Salon that come with yoga mats for use during the voyage and an iPod docking station.

For guests looking for a more affordable option, the line is offering 266 standard or large interior accommodations up to 225 square feet.

Carnival Corporation and Fincantieri Sign Memo of Understanding to Support Cruise Industry Growth in China
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world's largest cruise company, today announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Fincantieri S.p.A., the world's largest cruise ship building company, to explore the possibility of a shipbuilding joint venture aimed at accelerating development and growth of the cruise industry in China.

The MOU between Carnival Corporation and Italy-based Fincantieri outlines the framework for evaluating and exploring a potential shipbuilding joint venture for constructing cruise ships for the Chinese market.

Carnival Corporation and Fincantieri Sign Memo of Understanding to Support Cruise Industry Growth in ChinaToday's signed MOU with Fincantieri follows the news that Carnival Corporation and the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), China's largest shipyard, had signed an MOU in mid-October to work together on a potential collaborative joint venture focused in shipbuilding in China.

Both MOUs involving Carnival Corporation include the possibility of forming a shipbuilding joint venture that could become a three-way arrangement involving Carnival Corporation, Fincantieri and CSSC. In concept, the potential shipbuilding joint venture would be the first three-nation collaborative effort to build the first-ever, world-class cruise ships constructed in China.

As part of the possible joint venture, Carnival Corporation would work closely with CSSC and Fincantieri to provide its ship design and shipbuilding expertise to create the vision, definition and overall specifications for the China-built cruise ship for the Chinese market. Fincantieri and CSSC would work closely together in the proposed venture on shipbuilding production capacity in China. Based on Fincantieri's broad experience as the largest shipbuilder in the world, the company would provide specialist services to help augment CSSC's world-class shipyards that have a strong track record of delivering quality industrial vessels.

"Building on our groundbreaking MOU signed with CSSC last month, this new agreement with Fincantieri gives us the opportunity to work with our longtime partner to further explore a formal joint venture that could forever change the landscape of shipbuilding in China," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "After working diligently to get a deep understanding of China's aggressive cruise ambitions, we're collaborating with two of the world's top shipbuilders in Fincantieri and CSSC to establish a framework for a world-class Chinese shipbuilding venture designed to help accelerate growth and demand for cruising in China in the years to come."

Fincantieri's Chief Executive Officer, Giuseppe Bono, said: "This agreement with Carnival, to which we are bound by a consolidated partnership, and with CSSC testifies our determination in pursuing a strategy that increasingly establishes Fincantieri as a global and reference player in the sector, with strong presence in all the markets that can ensure a future in our business. Indeed, new international scenarios are emerging, and with them new challenges arise in addition to existing ones, and we are glad to contribute together with Carnival to develop the cruise shipbuilding capacity in China for the Chinese market. For this reason, our commitment must be ever-stronger in order to enable us to take advantage of such opportunities and continue to be an example of Italian style in the world."

The Chinese Ministry of Transport (MOT) projects China to be the second largest global cruise market after the U.S. in the next several years based on economic growth, increased spending power of Chinese consumers and growing demand for cruise vacations. China could see 4.5 million cruise passengers by 2020, according to the MOT, and is expected to eventually become the world's largest cruise market. Potential partnerships like the ones being explored between Carnival, Fincantieri and CSSC are aimed at supporting the MOT's pro-growth cruise policies and the rise of overall tourism in China.

As part of the MOU signed with CSSC last month, Carnival Corporation will explore other joint venture opportunities beyond shipbuilding, including the potential to form a domestic cruise company, port development, talent development and training as well as supply chain and logistics. The company will continue to pursue every opportunity to support the growth of cruising in China, while continuing to provide joyful and memorable cruise vacations for guests already sailing on its brands in China.

Carnival Corporation just recently announced its plans for immediate capacity growth in China in 2015 to meet growing demand. With Costa Cruises adding the Costa Serena in China in April of next year, Carnival Corporation will be the first global cruise company with four ships homeported in China. Costa Serena joins Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Sapphire Princess already homeported in China. Carnival Corporation is growing its leading market presence by 140 percent from 2013 – 2015 and expects to carry 500,000 cruise passengers in China in 2015.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 41.99 + 1.16%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 71.28 + 4.00%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.78 - 2.46%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 42.201 + 2.15%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the former liners that were sold to the Iranian government for use as accommodation ships in the 1970's?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - What was the name given to the popular transatlantic route between New York, Algeciras, Naples, Genoa and Cannes and what ships were best known for making this trip?

Answer - It was called the Southern Route. Famous ships that plied it were Constitution/Independence from the American Export Line. Michelangelo/Raffaello/Leonardo de Vinci/Cristoforo Columbo/Andrea Doria/Rex/Conti de Savoia/Conti Biancamano/Conte Grande from the Italian Line
courtesy of Michael G. Jedd


Cruise News - November 17, 2014

NCLH Completes Acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Inc.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. this week announced it has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Inc. ("Prestige"), the market leader in the upscale cruise segment and parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, in cash and stock for a total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion, including the assumption of debt.

NCLH Completes Acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Inc.With this acquisition, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. operates a portfolio of brands that span all market segments in the cruise industry, from contemporary to upper-premium to luxury. Each brand offers differentiated experiences in their respective segments. The Norwegian Cruise Line brand provides the freedom and flexibility of a resort-style vacation on board some of the most innovative ships in the industry with its unique Freestyle Cruising proposition. Oceania Cruises offers an upper premium experience with the finest cuisine at sea on its fleet of mid-sized ships, while Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the market leader in the luxury cruise segment and operates three award-winning, all-suite ships, with an additional ship on order for delivery in summer 2016.

Commenting on the closing of the acquisition, Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., said, "While for years we have competed successfully with our one brand in an increasingly consolidated industry, our acquisition of Prestige creates a new cruise operator with a range of complementary offerings as diversified as any in the industry. We now shift our focus from planning for the successful integration of these organizations to the implementation phase, with an organizational structure that allows for the realization of significant synergies while maintaining the integrity of the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands that have made each a success in their respective segment."

Frank Del Rio, chief executive officer of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc., commented, "We're excited to officially join the Norwegian family and ready to begin this next chapter as one united company. Together, we will further our brands' position as leaders in the upper-premium and luxury cruise markets by continuing to deliver an exceptional onboard experience for our guests, and expand the reach of both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises throughout the world."

Celebrity Introduces River-and-Ocean Cruise Vacations
On the heels of the successful launch of "Celebrity Explorations" – unique vacations that pair ocean cruises with rich destination experiences on land – is the introduction of European river-and-ocean cruise vacation packages. Unique to the cruise industry and only available on Celebrity Cruises, these Celebrity Explorations combine immersive Amras Cruises river journeys with guest-favorite modern luxury ocean sailings.

Celebrity Introduces River-and-Ocean Cruise Vacations"Our guests want to continue seeing more of the world with Celebrity, and we are dedicated to providing them with the most destination-rich vacations," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "By introducing these river-and-ocean cruise packages, travelers can immerse themselves in Europe more so than ever before, with the ease of choosing a vacation package exclusively created by Celebrity."

The 11 new river-and-ocean cruise packages offer guests the opportunity to explore Europe far and wide by way of four well-known rivers – the Danube, Rhine, Rhône and Seine – and then by sea onboard a breathtaking Celebrity cruise around the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Russia, Turkey and other destinations.

Ranging from 16 to 24 nights, Celebrity Explorations' river-and-ocean cruise packages include:
• Seven-night Amras Cruises river cruise, including gourmet dining; select beverages, featuring regional wine and beer; fully guided tours and excursions; Wi-Fi and more Dedicated Celebrity Cruises Destination Concierge to ensure a seamless and personalized river cruise experience
• Flights to a major European city near the ocean cruise port - Rome, Italy; London, England; Barcelona, Spain; Athens, Greece; or Istanbul, Turkey
• One- to two-night luxury hotel accommodations before embarking on the ocean cruise
• Convenient transfers from the airport to the hotel and the ocean cruise port
• Celebrity Cruises Classic Beverage Package, including wine and spirits

Each river cruise complements the signature luxuries Celebrity is known for at sea, from beautifully designed accommodations and impeccable service to distinctive dining experiences created by a James Beard-featured chef.

The European river-and-ocean cruise vacation packages offer 11 different combinations of six river cruises and nine distinct ocean sailings, including:

• Southern France Sonata with Greece & Turkey – A 16-night adventure that begins with a seven-night river cruise onboard Amadeus Symphony, through Southern France – including stops in Lyon, Viviers and Avignon – followed by two nights in Athens, Greece and seven nights visiting the gems of the Mediterranean aboard Celebrity Equinox

The 16-night journey departs Chalon-sur-Saone, France on July 2 and ends July 18, 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey.

• Danube Waltz with Spain & the Canary Islands– A twenty-night vacation to seven different countries starts aboard Amadeus Silver II for a river cruise visiting heritage sites of Budapest, Hungary; the Austrian shoreline and Wachau Valley; and historic German cities. Vacationers then fly to London, England for a two-night stay before meeting Celebrity Eclipse for an 11-night ocean cruise to the vibrant cities of Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal and the Canary Islands.

The 20-night journey departs Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 1 and ends Oct. 21, 2015, in Southampton, England.

• Classical Rhine with Caribbean Transatlantic – Vacationers can enjoy some of the most breathtaking cities in Europe, including immersive visits in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Cologne, Germany; and Strasbourg, France. The river cruise adventure onboard Amadeus Silver is followed by an overnight stay in Rome, Italy and a modern luxury ocean cruise vacation across the Atlantic Ocean on Celebrity’s newest ship, Celebrity Reflection, to St Kitts, St. Maarten and other idyllic islands of the Caribbean.

The 23-night journey departs Amsterdam on Oct. 15 and ends Nov. 7, 2015 in Miami, Fla.

• Seine Symphony with Israel & the Mediterranean – Guests can experience the French countryside in a new way by sailing aboard Amadeus Diamond and docking for tours of châteaus, centuries-old cathedrals, plus the beaches of Normandy. Travelers then spend a night docked in Paris, France and fly into Istanbul, Turkey to embark on a 12-night cruise aboard Celebrity Constellation to the historic cities of Haifa and Ashdod, Israel; Valletta, Malta; and Naples and Rome, Italy.

• The 20-night journey departs Paris on Oct. 15 and ends Nov. 4, 2015 in Rome, Italy.

Carnival Corporation to Launch First Ever Multi-Brand National Marketing Initiative
Carnival Corporation & plc , the world’s largest cruise company, today announced its first-ever multi-brand marketing initiative incorporating all nine of its leading global brands to drive increased awareness, consideration and demand for cruising as a great vacation option at an exceptional value. Targeting consumers who are new to cruising, the campaign will kick off on November 24 with several digital and social elements and will continue to ramp up through 2015.

Carnival Corporation to Launch First Ever Multi-Brand National Marketing InitiativeAs part of the marketing effort, Carnival Corporation will introduce the “World’s Leading Cruise Lines Marketing Challenge” – an interactive crowdsourcing program in which CEO Arnold Donald and celebrity emcee Cedric the Entertainer ask consumers to “join the company’s marketing team” and pick their favorite TV ads from a selection of creative concepts, with the chance for one lucky participant to win a yearly cruise for life.

Carnival Corporation’s newly redesigned World’s Leading Cruise Lines website – WorldsLeadingCruiseLines.com – will serve as the campaign hub. The new site will feature content from each of the company’s nine brands and also house new tools and functionality in support of the campaign.

The campaign elements are designed to educate consumers and especially non-cruisers on why cruising is an extraordinary vacation experience at an exceptional value. The campaign will help consumers understand how contemporary cruising has evolved, with grand cruise ships offering something for everyone and how common myths about cruising are untrue. The campaign will also encourage consumers to consult a travel agent as a valuable resource for planning a cruise vacation.

The goal of the marketing program is to help inspire consumers to consider cruising as one of their top options when planning vacations — and, ultimately, to grow demand for cruising. While cruising continues to grow in worldwide popularity, with nearly 22 million people expected to have taken cruises in 2014, only about 3.3 percent of people in North America in any given year go on a cruise – providing a significant marketing opportunity.

“Across our portfolio of nine brands and more than 100 cruise ships visiting over 700 destinations around the world, Carnival Corporation carries more than 10.5 million guests a year, accounting for one out of every two people who cruise anywhere in the world,” said Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald. “With so many distinctive experiences offered by our industry-leading brands, we truly believe the Carnival family has a cruise for everyone. Our job is to help people understand why cruising is such a great vacation, and to help them find which of our nine cruise brands is the right one for them.”

Donald added: “I’m asking consumers to join our marketing team and weigh in with a vote as well as give us their advice on our upcoming marketing efforts. In return we have an extraordinary giveaway – one lucky person will win a cruise a year for life! So we encourage people to go to WorldsLeadingCruiseLines.com, and check out the advertising concepts. We like all of them but want help in choosing the best one. While on our site, we encourage people to also check out our CRUISE-A-NALITY tool. It’s a fun and easy way to find out which of our cruise brands is the best fit for their personality. Finding the right cruise brand to sail helps make sure people have a good experience, and we are excited that CRUISE-A-NALITY can help do just that.”

Carnival Corporation’s marketing initiative will include the following elements aimed at growing awareness, consideration and demand for cruising among consumers:

• The “World’s Leading Cruise Lines Marketing Challenge”:Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and celebrity emcee Cedric the Entertainer will invite consumers to “join” the Carnival Corporation marketing team and help select creative elements for the marketing initiative. On WorldsLeadingCruiseLines.com Mr. Donald will introduce six distinct advertising concepts and ask consumers to help further shape the stories, as well as vote for which ad concept does the best job of both dispelling misconceptions about cruising and bringing the cruise experience to life.

• CRUISE-A-NALITY:One aspect of WorldsLeadingCruiseLines.com allows vacationers to find their “CRUISE-A-NALITY,” which is an interactive tool to help consumers find their individual cruise persona — type of cruiser based on likes and dislikes — from a total of 30 personas. After answering six simple questions, the CRUISE-A-NALITY tool provides consumers with their persona, cruise brand recommendations and links to find more information to begin planning their vacation – with a reminder to contact their travel agent for additional guidance on which cruise is right for them. Once visitors know their CRUISE-A-NALITY, they are encouraged to call their travel agent as well as share their results through their Facebook and Twitter social media channels.

• Twitter Contest: Carnival Corporation will kick off the launch of its new Twitter handle, @CarnivalPLC, on November 24 with a contest encouraging consumers to share what they love about cruising. In addition to instant prizes for tweets at 50,000, 150,000, 250,000, 400,000, 500,000 and 750,000, one individual will be selected at random to receive, for themselves and a guest, 100 days of cruising on their choice of Carnival Corporation’s U.S.-based brands to be used at their discretion.

• WorldsLeadingCruiseLines.com:This site – which promotes the company’s nine brands – serves as the hub for both the campaign and an information source on cruising options and experiences on Carnival Cruise Lines, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn in the U.S.; AIDA Cruises in Germany; Costa Cruises in Italy; and P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (United Kingdom). The site will help serve as a continuous communication platform for consumers and travel agents.

Norwegian Epic to Debut New Entertainment in 2015 for Year-Round European Sailings
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced a new entertainment line-up for Norwegian Epic, the award-winning ship that will be based year-round in Barcelona, Spain, starting April 30, 2015. Two new Broadway shows will take the stage as headliners: Burn the Floor in April, 2015 and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - The Musical in October, 2015. The ship will also feature an all-new British pop music entertainment experience, The Cavern Club, bringing the legendary Liverpool venue where the Beatles performed to life at sea.

Norwegian Epic to Debut New Entertainment in 2015 for Year-Round European Sailings"We are excited to bring Norwegian Epic to Europe year-round and want to provide our guests with even more exciting entertainment options on the ship that first elevated the onboard entertainment experience," said Drew Madsen, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief operating officer. "These new world-class entertainment offerings, along with Norwegian Epic's innovative accommodations and plethora of dining options, are the perfect combination for the European cruise market and give guests the freedom and flexibility to customize their vacation."

Broadway sensation Burn The Floor, which has received rave reviews on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, will bring the sizzle and passion of ballroom dancing to Norwegian Epic with an all new and exciting show specifically designed for European guests beginning on her transatlantic voyage, April 19, 2015. "Ballroom Blitz," featuring 14 dancers, a live band and two singers, is an ultimate high-voltage theatrical dance experience that explodes with jaw-dropping choreography, heart-pounding music and breath-taking moves.

Based on the Oscar-winning movie, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert - The Musical is the heart-warming, uplifting comedy adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of discovering. The Tony Award winning musical features a dazzling array of over 500 award-winning costumes, 200 extraordinary head-dresses and a hit parade of dance floor favorites, including "It's Raining Men," "I Will Survive," and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." The show will open on the ship's October 18, 2015 voyage.

Norwegian Epic will also receive a whole new entertainment venue created through an exciting partnership with the owners of Liverpool's The Cavern Club, the birthplace of British pop music. Impressively, 57 years after its opening, the original Cavern Club survives and thrives as a contemporary music venue. Norwegian will re-create The Cavern Club experience at sea, rocking guests each evening to the sounds of The Beatles, along with other international musicians. The Cavern Club will debut on the October 11, 2015 sailing.

Carnival Encourages Excellence In Travel Writing As Gold Supporter For SATW Foundation
Carnival Corporation is teaming up with the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Foundation as the first Gold supporter of the annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition.

As a Gold supporter, Carnival Corporation will donate $40,000 a year for three years to help sustain the premier competition in North America in the field of travel journalism. The Foundation awards nearly $20,000 annually in prize money for outstanding print, online and multimedia works, for travel photography and audio and video broadcast. The Lowell Thomas contest has gained its stature for several reasons, most notably because it does not promote any particular destination or travel product, it is open to all North American journalists, and it is judged independently by the faculty at top U.S. schools of journalism who are paid for their efforts.

David Molyneaux (left), president of the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation, and Roger Frizzell, senior vice president of corporate communications and chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation, "We are proud to work with the SATW Foundation to help continue the high standards of excellence among journalists with their ongoing coverage of the travel industry through the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition," said Roger Frizzell, senior vice president of corporate communications and chief communications officer, Carnival Corporation. "We have nine global cruise line brands and 101 ships sailing around the world, so we have much respect for, and highly value, journalistic story-telling of the Carnival experience. In fact, it is essential to helping us make the Carnival product the best option for cruise passengers."

Carnival Corporation is the largest cruise company in the world with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK). Together, these brands operate 101 ships totaling 212,000 lower berths with eight new ships to be delivered through 2017. Carnival Corporation also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. For more information, visit www.Carnival.com.

"We thank Carnival Corporation, along with our other generous partners, for their donations, helping us to recognize and reward excellence in travel journalism," said David G. Molyneaux, SATW Foundation president.

The Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014. The SATW Foundation presented 90 awards in 25 categories and nearly $20,000 in prize money in its 2014 competition. The sustainability of the annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition is supported by generous contributions from Carnival Corporation, among other donors. Since the first competition for work in 1984, the SATW Foundation has presented more than 2,100 awards and more than $420,000 in recognition of outstanding travel journalism.

The awards are named for Lowell Thomas, acclaimed broadcast journalist, prolific author and world explorer during five decades in travel journalism. The competition is open to all North American journalists.

Winners of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition are announced at the SATW Annual Convention.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 41.51 + 2.98%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 68.54 + 0.82%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.85 - 0.35%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 41.31 + 4.98%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name given to the popular transatlantic route between New York, Algeciras, Naples, Genoa and Cannes and what ships were best known for making this trip?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - This picture was taken in 1975 in New York City. Can you name the five ships in the photo (...from bottom to top)?


Click Here for a larger version of the picture.

Answer - Fron top to bottom: Statendam, Rotterdam, Oceanic, Michelangelo, Doric (ex Shalom - ex Hanseatic) and the bow of the Sagafjord.
courtesy of Philippe Conquer


Cruise News - November 10, 2014

Quantum of the Seas, Sails Into New York Harbor
She's smart, fashionable, tech savvy and incredibly adventurous, and she's poised to bring the cruise industry into the 21st century.

Quantum of the Seas, Sails Into New York HarborRoyal Caribbean International's newest cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas, arrived into her homeport of Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ today, bringing with her a wave of unprecedented first-at-sea features and amenities.

Quantum of the Seas will sail from New York harbor to the Bahamas and the Caribbean for her inaugural season before departing for her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China, in May 2015. Sister-ship Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton in April 2015 and sail Mediterranean itineraries.

Quantum-class ships are the world’s most technologically advanced in the world with “boatloads of bandwidth” which allow the cruise line to offer unprecedented connectivity – 500 times more than any other cruise ship; easy-to-use systems that expand guest choices and simplify schedules, plus, RFID technology that speeds up the boarding process and allows guest to track their luggage every step of the way.

The ships offer new unprecedented features, such as RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; as well as the Bionic Bar powered by Makr Shakr which features the world’s first robotic bartenders.

The ships also showcase the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever staterooms with Virtual Balconies, which offer expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations from every interior stateroom.

Quantum-class ships span 16 guest decks; encompass 167,800 gross registered tons; carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy; and feature 2,090 staterooms.

HAL's new ms Koningsdam to Debut an Innovative Design Approach
When Holland America Line welcomes ms Koningsdam to the fleet in February 2016, the ship will debut a new era in design approach for the line. As the first ship in the Pinnacle class, the 2,650-guest ship will have an interior that blends a fresh, contemporary styling in perfect harmony with the line's renowned classic elegance.

Future guests, travel agents and ship fans can now get the first look at select interior renderings on Holland America Line's website, www.hollandamerica.com. The story of the ship will unfold online over the coming months through vibrant renderings, engaging videos, ship facts and more details about the interiors created by Adam D. Tihany and Bjorn Storbraaten.

"When guests come aboard ms Koningsdam they'll know they're on a Holland America Line ship, but they'll see we're taking a forward-thinking approach to many of the design elements," said Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group. "Revealing the first renderings and video of ms Koningsdam enables us to give future guests an advance look at the stunning interiors and over the coming months will reveal innovative new features along with our classics hallmarks that will create a cruise experience for the travelers of tomorrow."

The main Dining Room aboard ms Koningsdam will span two floors and be framed by views of the sea.At the helm of the interior conceptualization is Tihany, regarded as one of the world's pre-eminent hospitality designers. A leader in creating luxurious and creative interiors at some of the world's most iconic properties, Tihany has approached ms Koningsdam with an eye toward creating public spaces that reflect the tradition and signature elegance for which Holland America Line is known, while elevating the design to strike a more modern balance of past, present and future.

Focusing on fluid curves and graceful lines, light-filled spaces and the natural flow of public areas, Tihany's metaphorical approach to the interiors of ms Koningsdam was inspired by the "architecture of music."

"The idea was to tell a story that guests can connect with throughout their voyage," said Tihany. "I was inspired by the thought of what you might see from the inside of a musical instrument, what the architecture of the surfaces and the geometry look like."

Key to his concept is utilizing visual interaction, where guests actively engage with the architecture rather than passively moving through it.

"The design isn't a literal translation of music, but a conceptual approach where we seek to evoke the feeling and beauty of an instrument with graceful lines, dramatic textures, lighting effects and use of materials," said Tihany. "My inspirations were not only instruments, but also majestic spaces and exaggerating the feeling of height, so guests feel the grandeur of every room."

For example, at the heart of the ship Tihany is creating visual drama with the central atrium. Soaring three decks high, the space is graced by an airy stainless-steel sculpture that represents the synthesis of a string quartet. Like music, the experience changes as guests move around and through it, so no two perspectives are the same. The atrium is capped by a ceiling "skylight" that serves as a backdrop for subtly changing high-definition projections. Guests will look up by day and see wispy cirrus clouds floating in an azure sky or perhaps soothing images of light in water. By evening, the atrium takes on dramatic lighting hues or reflects the starlit constellations of the night sky.

The main Dining Room aboard ms Koningsdam will span two floors and be framed by views of the sea. A bright interior will be inspired by a modern, global design and sets the stage for the exceptional culinary experience to come. Strong, curved architectural pillars will accentuate the soaring ceiling. Chic, custom furnishings and modern glass lighting are being fabricated especially for the ship. The centerpiece is a curved copper sheath surrounding a two-story wine tower showcasing an impressive selection.

The iconic Queen's Lounge has been completely reimagined as an elegant theater and entertainment venue that spans two floorsThe iconic Queen's Lounge has been completely reimagined as an elegant theater and entertainment venue that spans two floors. Tihany once again drew inspiration for the space from music, nodding to the sensual curves of a violin and featuring extensive use of wood, fluid waveforms and light. With state-of-the-art technology, the Queen's Lounge will showcase world-class musicians and the largest dance floor on the ship.

Architect and designer Bjorn Storbraaten joins Tihany in bringing the ship to life in a familiar yet innovative style. With his previous work on ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam, Storbraaten adds continuity of the brand to ms Koningsdam, while taking elegance to the next level.

"It's been fascinating to work on ms Koningsdam where we are introducing design elements never before seen on Holland America Line," said Storbraaten. "We were tasked with evolving the look and feel of the ship while keeping it true to the brand, making this an exciting and rewarding project."

Storbraaten's hand is clearly present in the design of the central pool area. The Magrodome, which typically is a single level on Holland America Line ships, has been expanded to two levels to create a vast glass-enclosed space. The lower level will have more traditional poolside elements, while the mezzanine level will be a new concept for the brand. In addition to other areas, Storbraaten is designing the exotic look of Tamarind, the line's Pan-Asian restaurant that emphasizes nature's basic elements: water, wood, fire and earth.

Across the ship, Tihany and Storbraaten are working together to make ms Koningsdam an evolution of the Holland America Line brand.

Three Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ to Undergo Refurbishment at Hamburg’s Blohm+Voss Shipyard
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ three ships Black Watch, Braemar and Balmoral are all due to enter dry dock at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany in November and December 2014, in preparation for the forthcoming 2015/16 cruise season. This is the first time that so many Fred. Olsen ships have undergone refurbishment within such short succession.

Work has started with 804-guest Black Watch, which arrived at Blohm+Voss on 4th November 2014. The ship will then continue on Fred. Olsen’s first-ever sellout ‘Mystery Cruise’ of 14 nights, W1417, which sails from Tilbury on 15th November 2014.

Braemar will then arrive in Hamburg on 12th November 2014Braemar will then arrive in Hamburg on 12th November 2014, after which the 929-guest ship will depart on a three-night M1430 ‘France Mini-Cruise’ from Southampton on 20th November 2014.

Balmoral, which carries 1,350 guests, rounds off the planned dry dock works. The ship will arrive on 9th December 2014, and will leave the shipyard to start a two-night pre-Christmas L1418 ‘France Mini-Cruise’ from Southampton on 19th December 2014. The Blohm+Voss schedule for the three Fred. Olsen cruise ships comprises various engineering works, general refurbishment and interior and exterior painting.

During the dry dock, Black Watch will also see 27 cabins on Lido Deck 7 fitted with balcony terraces. These new Balcony Terrace cabins will extend out 1.2 metres from the ship’s bulkhead, and will provide guests with an increased choice of cost-effective balcony cabins with access to the outside.

During their dry docks, Balmoral and Braemar will also follow on from Boudicca and Black Watch by having Fred. Olsen’s popular ‘Café Venus’ installed on board, serving high-quality coffee and luxury chocolates. The new Café will be created on Balmoral on Lounge Deck 7, by reconfiguring the Library area, to create a more open, sociable public space.

On Braemar, Café Venus will be installed on Lounge Deck 5 by reconfiguring the Library area, and the Card Room will be moved and integrated with the Arts and Crafts Centre on Atlantic Deck 3.

Mike Rodwell, Managing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We experience extremely high demand for balcony cabins across our fleet, and in particular on board the smaller-sized Black Watch, and our new Balcony Terrace cabins are an innovative response to this. We are also looking forward to being able to give guests the experience of fine coffee and chocolates on board Balmoral and Braemar, as they have already been enjoying on Boudicca and Black Watch.

“Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is pleased to be returning to Blohm+Voss for this important work. Balmoral and Braemar are both well-known to the Hamburg shipyard, as they both underwent mid-section extensions in 2007 and 2008 respectively.”

In November 2007, Balmoral was extended by a section of 30.27 metres. Braemar followed in May 2008, being extended amidships by a section of 31.20 metres.

Carnival Pride Launches Winter Service from Port of Tampa
Carnival Pride kicked off a winter schedule of seven-day Caribbean cruises from the Port of Tampa yesterday following an extensive $75 million dry dock that added a wide variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, including four spectacular Playlist Productions shows.

Carnival Pride Launches Winter Service from Port of TampaOn its new winter schedule from Tampa, Carnival Pride departs Sundays on week-long cruises to four popular Caribbean destinations: Cozumel, Mexico; Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan; Belize City, Belize; and George Town, Grand Cayman, or Costa Maya, Mexico. Each of these destinations features beautiful beaches, unique cultural experiences and a variety of shore excursion choices, from ziplining, snorkeling and kayaking to cave tubing and exploring ancient ruins.

"We're very excited to launch a winter schedule of Caribbean cruises from Tampa on the Carnival Pride, which is better than ever with a wide variety of new Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar and entertainment innovations, including four new Playlist Productions shows," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. "Not only does the Carnival Pride offer fantastic new choices for our guests it also provides our travel agent partners with an outstanding, value-packed Caribbean cruise option from Tampa for their clients," he added.

Carnival Pride emerged from an extensive three-week dry dock that added a variety of exciting new features that are part of the line's Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement initiative.

These include delicious dining choices like Guy's Burger Joint developed in tandem with celebrity chef Guy Fieri, the full-service Bonsai Sushi, and BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare, as well as innovative beverage venues like the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, EA SPORTS Bar featuring a huge 16-monitor video wall, and the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar. A massive WaterWorks aqua park highlighted by Green Thunder, the fastest and steepest water slide at sea, along with audience favorite Hasbro, The Game Show, offering larger-than-life adaptations of the company's iconic games, and Cherry on Top, a "candy and more store," were also added.

Guests sailing on Carnival Pride can also enjoy four new Playlist Productions shows – 80s Pop to the Max, Heart of Soul, Getaway Island and 88 Keys: The Rock and Roll Piano Show. The new shows are highlighted in an entertaining video hosted by popular Senior Cruise Director John Heald and featuring interviews with members of Carnival's entertainment team and exclusive behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage. The video can be viewed here.

Carnival Pride will operate from Tampa through March 2015 then reposition to Baltimore for year-round five- to 14-day departures from that port.

Royal Caribbean Opens New Terminal at Cape Liberty
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. last week dedicated the new cruise terminal at Cape Liberty Cruise Port, the next phase of the development of the Bayonne cruise port. Bayonne Mayor James Davis, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s Director of Port Commerce Richard Larrabee, and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s President and COO Adam Goldstein and Vice President of Port Operations Juan Trescastro, dedicate the new cruise terminal to Art on the Working Waterfront.

Together, the gentlemen unveiled 10 photographs that capture the unique energy and character of historic New York Harbor through the eyes of photographer and International Longshoreman Association-member John Bacaring. Following the unveiling, the officials and executives were invited to the very first preview of the new terminal, slated to welcome guests for the first time when the world’s first Smartship, Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, arrives in New York Harbor on November 10, 2014.

Royal Caribbean Opens New Terminal at Cape Liberty“The development of the new cruise terminal is another example of how public private partnerships are supposed to work. By working together, Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority have been able to bring this world class terminal on line which can service the newest generation of large cruise ships,” said Port Authority Port Commerce Director, Richard Larrabee. “We look forward to continuing passenger growth with the arrival of the Quantum Class vessels to the harbor in 2014 and 2015. It’s been a pleasure working with Royal Caribbean on this important project.”

The second cruise terminal located at 4 Port Terminal Boulevard is a successful partnership between Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority to develop the Bayonne waterfront for cruise tourism. The first phase of the $55 million port expansion includes a new, state-of-the-art guest terminal, with 125,000 sq. ft. of check-in, customs and immigration, and luggage processing space, as well as a 950-car parking structure and pier improvements. The new facility is adjacent to the first cruise terminal, opened in 2004.

“Royal Caribbean thanks the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the City of Bayonne for this successful collaboration to develop Cape Liberty for cruise tourism.,” said Adam Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “The planned state-of-the-art cruise terminal at Cape Liberty will perfectly complement our Quantum-class ships, which will be the most technologically advanced ships in the world, and help generate jobs and grow the cruise industry regionally.”

Opened in May 2004, Cape Liberty Cruise Port is located 15 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport and seven miles south of Manhattan. The port has been the year-round home of Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas, and seasonally for Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit. Quantum of the Seas will sail to the Caribbean and Bahamas starting in November 2014. Liberty of the Seas will then homeport at Cape Liberty in summer 2015 and become Royal Caribbean International’s largest and most innovative cruise ship to sail to Bermuda. In winter 2015, Cape Liberty will be the homeport for Quantum of the Seas’ sister-ship Anthem of the Seas, after completing its inaugural season in Europe.

“Being the sole cruise port in the entire State of New Jersey, today highlights one of the many unique qualities of Bayonne. Without question, by establishing working relationships with entities like Royal Caribbean the possibilities are endless for the future of the City,” said Mayor James Davis.

Based on “The Contribution of the North American Cruise Industry to the U.S. Economy in 2011” (BREA Business Research, 2012), Cape Liberty has the second largest passenger volume among Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coast ports. Every time a cruise ship docks at Cape Liberty Cruise Port, $1.5 million is spent at and in the surrounding areas of the port. The facilities generate an estimated $500,000 per year to the City of Bayonne through a local parking tax instituted in 2008. Furthermore, the cruise industry helps New Jersey generate $390 million annually and employs more than 7,000 residents.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 40.31 + 0.60%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 67.98 - 0.61%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.86 - 1.04%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 39.35 + 0.72%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - This picture was taken in 1975 in New York City. Can you name the five ships in the photo (...from bottom to top)?


Click Here for a larger version of the picture.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which former cruise ship received special permission to fly the flag of the United Nations in honor of the over 25 nationalities represented in her crew?

Answer - The former cruise ship was Norwegian Cruise Line's Norway.
courtesy of Bruce A. McKenzie, Guam USA


Cruise News - November 3, 2014

Princess Cruises Pays Tribute to The Love Boat at Regal Princess Launch
Princess Cruises, the cruise line made famous as the backdrop of the iconic Love Boat television series, christened its new Regal Princess today with a tribute to the show as all six of the original cast members served as the ship's godparents, and were joined by 25 of the show's past guest stars.

The star-studded Love Boat themed festivities, which also launched the line's 50th anniversary, celebrated the role the show played in Princess Cruises' five-decades-long history.

Princess Cruises officially christened the new Regal Princess in a naming ceremony featuring the original cast members of The Love BoatAll six Love Boat cast members - Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Gopher, the chief purser), Ted Lange (Isaac, the bartender), Bernie Kopell (Doc, the ship's doctor), Lauren Tewes (cruise director, Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki, the captain's daughter) - pulled a lever that first sent a record-breaking fifty champagne bottles smashing against the ship's hull as a nod to the company's anniversary celebration, followed by the breaking of a giant Nebuchadnezzar-size 51st bottle signifying Princess Cruises' continued future success.

Frequent show guest-star Florence Henderson served as the Master of Ceremonies and celebrities walking the 50th Anniversary gold carpet included: Loni Anderson, Joyce DeWitt, Jamie Farr, Pam Grier, Christopher Knight, Diane Ladd, Lorenzo Lamas, Carol Lawrence, Rich Little, Kristy McNichol, Lee Meriwether, Don Most, Tracy Nelson, Mackenzie Phillips, Doris Roberts, Marion Ross, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Charlene Tilton, Joan Van Ark, Dick Van Patten and Adrian Zmed. The guest star with the most number of appearances on the show, Charo, entertained guests with a classical guitar number and Jack Jones, who sang the original version of the Love Boat theme, reprised this famous song.

"The Love Boat put Princess Cruises on the map, bringing the romance and adventure of our cruise vacations into millions of viewers' homes for the decade it was on air. So it was fitting that the cast was selected as godparents for Regal Princess as we begin our 50th anniversary celebrations," said Jan Swartz, the line's president.

The pilot episode of The Love Boat was shot aboard Princess' 730-passenger Sun Princess, with Pacific Princess and Island Princess then becoming the primary floating stars of the show. Later episodes and specials were filmed aboard many of Princess' other cruise ships in destinations around the globe. The show, which aired from 1977 to 1986, went on to become one of the highest-rated and longest-running shows on television, introducing viewers to modern day cruising and, in the process, making Princess Cruises and its ships synonymous with vacations at sea.

The 3,560-guest Regal Princess now begins her maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations out of Ft. Lauderdale. Among the special features found onboard the ship are a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship, offering a host of dining and entertainment options; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! Television studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef's Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; Princess Watercolor Fantasy, a fountain and music show; the Night Sky Lounge, a new nighttime experience that enables guests to enjoy a chic and contemporary poolside nightclub under the stars, and balconies on all outside staterooms.

Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Gerry Cahill To Retire
Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, announced today that he is retiring, effective November 30, after 20 years of service.

Cahill, 63, has been CEO of Carnival Corporation's largest cruise brand since 2007, growing the cruise line to 24 ships – the largest in the company's fleet -- during his tenure.

Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Gerry Cahill To Retire"Gerry has been instrumental in taking Carnival Cruise Lines to new heights as one of the preeminent brands in the cruise industry," said Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise company. "He and his team have delivered new innovations to cruising while growing the business year after year."

During his tenure as CEO, Cahill and his team launched four new ships and introduced a new class of ships, the Dream class, which included the Carnival Dream, one of the largest ships in the company's fleet, as well as Carnival Magic and Carnival Breeze with its many new branded spaces and experiences.

Cahill and his team also oversaw the delivery of new cruising features such as the innovative Funship 2.0 ship enhancements and Carnival LIVE concert series, a first in the cruise industry, as well the Carnival Seuss at Sea program, an exclusive partnership that brought the beloved Dr. Seuss children's brand and characters to its ships. He and his team also developed partnerships with major brands to offer passengers popular on-board features, such as celebrity chef Guy Fieri for Guy's Burger Joint and comedian and TV personality George Lopez for The Punchliner Comedy Club.

"I can't thank Gerry enough for his tireless efforts both as CFO of Carnival Corporation and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines," said Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival Corporation & plc. "While we would always feel his retiring is premature, we understand and support his decision. His leadership and passion, along with his honest and frank views will be missed, and we will always have a deep appreciation for Gerry's tremendous contributions to Carnival Corporation."

No replacement for Cahill is being named at this point. Cahill has agreed to stay on in an advisory capacity for an unspecified time to provide advice and counsel to the leadership team through the transition period.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to lead Carnival Cruise Lines for the past seven years and to work for this great company for 20 years," said Cahill. "Deciding when to retire is not easy, especially when you love what you do. I feel the time is good for me personally and the company and brand are in a good place. Our employees are the finest, most dedicated people I know, and the thing I will miss most in my retirement is the opportunity to come to the office each day and work with such talented individuals."

Cahill joined Carnival Corporation in 1994 as vice president – finance, and in January 1998 was promoted to senior vice president – finance and chief financial officer.

Before joining Carnival, Cahill spent six years with Safecard Services, Inc., a NYSE-listed company, where he served first as chief financial officer and then as chief operating officer. From 1979 to 1988, Cahill held financial posts at Resorts International, Inc., and prior to that spent six years with Price Waterhouse.

Cahill graduated from the University of Miami, earning his B.B.A. degree in 1973.

Carnival Corporation Will Increase Fleet Capacity by Nearly 10 Percent through 2016
Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise company, announced today it will increase fleet capacity by nearly 10 percent from 2014 through 2016, fueled largely by the addition of four new ships across four brands in less than 18 months.

Princess Cruises officially christened the new Regal Princess in a naming ceremony featuring the original cast members of The Love BoatThis week, Carnival Corporation is christening two new ships in the span of three days as its Princess and Costa brands host official naming ceremonies for Regal Princess and Costa Diadema, the latest new vessels to join the company's industry-leading fleet of more than 100 ships across nine cruise brands. Additionally, in 2015, the company's P&O Cruises UK and AIDA brands will each debut a new ship, giving Carnival Corporation a total of four new ship additions by October of next year.

All told, the company has refreshed its global fleet – the largest in the world – with more than 30 new ship additions since 2007, including Regal Princess and Costa Diadema, with another seven ships scheduled to be delivered between 2015 and early 2017.

In addition, Carnival Corporation continues to expand its fleet leadership with upgrades and refurbishments to existing ships. In 2015 alone, the company plans upgrades or refurbishments on 17 ships across six of its brands.

The 2015 refurbishment plans include two former Holland America Line ships transferred to P&O Cruises Australia that will undergo complete refurbishment before sailing as Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden starting in November 2015. The renovated ships will offer a new level of comfort and style with onboard features tailored for Australian and New Zealand passengers, as Carnival Corporation boosts its industry-leading presence in the world's fastest-growing cruise market.

This week, Princess Cruises officially christened the new Regal Princess in a naming ceremony featuring the original cast members of "The Love Boat" television series who are serving as godparents for the new ship. After entering service in May 2014, the newly christened Regal Princess will now begin her maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations sailing out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

On Nov. 7, Costa Cruises will host a naming ceremony for Costa Diadema in Genoa, ItalyOn Nov. 7, Costa Cruises will host a naming ceremony for Costa Diadema in Genoa, Italy, where the brand's new flagship will be christened by the ship's Godmother, Carolina Miceli, an Italian travel agent selected from over 700 candidates in 50 countries for best representing the cruise line's values. Following the christening, Diadema will begin sailing in the Mediterranean through the summer of 2015.

In addition to Costa Diadema and Regal Princess, two other Carnival Corporation brands will debut new ships in 2015. In March, P&O Cruises UK will introduce Britannia, which is the largest ship ever built for the British cruise market. In the fall of 2015, German cruise operator AIDA will christen its new flagship, AIDAprima, which is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced ships in the world.

"We're very proud to christen Regal Princess and Costa Diadema this week, and these beautiful ships signify our commitment to providing the best possible guest experience across our industry-leading brands," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "As we invest in continually refreshing our fleet, we're able to provide our passengers the best of what new ships have to offer."

"And as always, our focus is on consistently exceeding our guests' expectations and doing everything we can to make sure that our passengers have joyful vacations," Donald added. "Compared to other options, cruising is hard to beat as a great way to truly relax and enjoy a vacation and unique destinations, and a great value that is also hard to beat. Introducing new ships into our fleet is just one more way we are working to provide wonderful vacations and lifetime memories for millions of people around the world. That focus will help us grow the market for cruising, and in turn increase demand for our product. So it's a win-win for consumers, and for our company."

Carnival Corporation's four new fleet additions in 18 months are part of the company's plan to introduce nine new ships across seven of its brands between 2014 and 2017. AIDA, Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises UK, Princess Cruises and Seabourn are all expected to debut new state-of-the-art cruise ships between now and the early part of 2017.

In 2016, Carnival Cruise Lines will debut Carnival Vista, a stunning 133,500-ton ship that will be the largest ever in its fleet -- with the ship being unveiled in a sneak preview in New York in January 2015. Holland America Line will launch its newest ship, the 99,500-ton ms Koningsdam, a new Pinnacle Class ship that can carry 2,650 passengers. Also in 2016, AIDA will introduce a new sister ship to the 2015 AIDAprima with capacity for 3,250 passengers, while Seabourn will unveil its newest luxury ship, expected to be the biggest ever built by the brand with the ability to serve 604 passengers.

Looking forward to 2017, Princess Cruises is working with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build a 143,000-ton vessel featuring the highly popular design elements introduced by the brand's two newest ships, and sisters, the Royal Princess and Regal Princess.

HAL's 2015 Europe Season Features Eight Ships Sailing 62 Unique Itineraries
Travelers looking to explore the history, culture and famous sights of Europe in 2015 have more options than ever before with eight Holland America Line ships offering sailings ranging from seven to 50 days. The 62 unique cruises highlight three new itineraries, four maiden calls and overnight visits to 21 of the continent's most popular and culturally rich cities.

The diverse fleet that will explore the region includes ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam — Holland America Line's two Signature-Class shipsThe diverse fleet that will explore the region includes ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam — Holland America Line's two Signature-Class ships — as well as ms Maasdam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Veendam. New to Europe in 2015 is the 1,916-guest ms Zuiderdam, which will sail in the Mediterranean.

"Having eight ships in Europe enables us to reach every corner of the region — from the top of Norway to the beaches of Turkey and everywhere in between," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. "The beauty of Europe is that there truly is something for everyone, so it's the ideal family cruise, romantic getaway or a vacation with friends."

In 2015 Holland America Line Europe cruises continue to focus on destination diversity, timeless appeal and high-quality experiences. The ships explore the entire region on itineraries that include northern Europe and the Norwegian fjords, Iceland and the Baltic; the British Isles; Canary Islands; Italian and French Riviera's; Iberian Peninsula; Black Sea; the eastern and western Mediterranean; and transatlantics.

Maiden calls at Alta, Norway, the northernmost town in the world; Paamiut (Frederikshab), Greenland; Igoumenitsa, Greece; and Canakkale, Turkey, enhance select itineraries.

Several convenient roundtrip options will be available from eight ports: Barcelona, Spain; Boston, Mass.; Civitavecchia (Rome) and Venice, Italy; Copenhagen, Denmark; Harwich (London), England; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Many of the cruises also can be extended into Collectors' Voyages ranging from 14 to 35 days, which offer the ultimate European experience. These artfully crafted longer journeys combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling guests to visit more ports and spend extra time exploring centuries of art, history and culture.

Notable New Itineraries:

• 18-Day Canary Islands Discovery - The popular itinerary returns in 2015 on Rotterdam departing April 21 on a roundtrip Rotterdam route. The ship visits the island of Funchal and explores ports in Spain, Portugal and northern Africa. Guests also enjoy an overnight call at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the largest and most diverse city on all seven of the Canary Islands, and home to the largest volcano in the world — El Teide.

• 14-Day Northern Isles - Ryndam departs June 20 and August 1 on a roundtrip Harwich (London) itinerary that showcases the best of Iceland with six calls throughout the country, as well as three calls in Norway. In addition to visits to key "bucket list" ports such as Iceland's Reykjavik and Akureyri, and Norway's Bergen, the ship spends three days of scenic cruising through some of the region's most striking fjords and landscapes.

• 21-Day Mediterranean Adventure - Ryndam sails from Harwich (London) to Venice Sept.12, visiting ports in Spain and Portugal before venturing into the Mediterranean Sea. Once there, guests are treated to calls at exciting cities in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro. Guests with less time can embark on a segment of this three-week journey ranging from 10 to 20 days.

Holland America Line's Europe itineraries enable guests to be among the few to cross the Arctic Circle and experience the midnight sun while visiting some of the northern-most cities in the world. Guests can take a dip in the famous "Blue Lagoon" during a call at Reykjavik, pay a visit to the Rock Carvings at Alta, go on a "seal watch" at Paamiut and look for the seals gathering in the Labrador Sea, or enjoy some local wine and cheese while taking in the stunning vistas from the port citadel at Calvi, Corsica. And on Ryndam's Norwegian Explorer voyage departing September 12, guests will have the best opportunity to witness the Northern Lights.

On each Europe cruise, Holland America Line's "On Location" enrichment program brings local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life onboard to deepen guests' appreciation of the region. Guests might enjoy a Turkish Taraf with live belly dancers, Nordic Jazz and Food Festival, German Bierfest with a live "oompah" band, regional beer and wine tastings, cultural cooking demonstrations, special tapas sail-away parties and more.

Disney Cruise Line Reveals Ports and Itineraries for Early 2016
Disney Cruise Line introduces two popular Caribbean destinations — Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Martinique — into the lineup of favorite tropical itineraries for early 2016. The return to the homeport of San Juan, Puerto Rico brings a new itinerary that includes Martinique.

Disney Cruise Line Reveals Ports and Itineraries for Early 2016From the warm Caribbean culture of Tortola, capital of the British Virgin Islands, to the exquisite French island of Martinique, these destinations provide Disney Cruise Line guests the chance to relax on pristine beaches, discover natural wonders and indulge in local shopping and cuisine.

Port Canaveral to Eastern Caribbean, including Tortola In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral, Fla. on a seven-night itinerary to the Eastern Caribbean, including a call at Tortola and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Tortola is an idyllic escape for guests of all ages, from tranquil beaches and stunning scenery to exhilarating activities and authentic Caribbean fare. With a variety of experiences for the family to share together, Disney Cruise Line guests will create memories in Tortola while swimming with dolphins, exploring centuries-old ruins, sampling local spices on Main Street and reveling in the natural beauty of Sage Mountain National Park.

Ports: Port Canaveral; Tortola; St. Thomas; Castaway Cay Departure dates: Disney Fantasy: Jan. 2, 16, 30; Feb. 13, 27; March 12, 26; April 9, 23; Disney Magic: April 3, 17

San Juan to Southern Caribbean, including Martinique Disney Cruise Line returns to San Juan, Puerto Rico in early 2016 as the Disney Wonder sails four seven-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean, including a stop in Martinique on a new itinerary for Disney.

Known as the “Flower of the Caribbean,” Martinique offers a unique island experience complete with breathtaking natural beauty and cosmopolitan culture of French and Creole influence. Nature-lovers will delight in lush rainforests, rushing waterfalls and volcanic landmarks, while guests looking for a more upscale experience will savor superb French cuisine and superlative shopping.

Ports: San Juan; Barbados; Grenada; Martinique; Antigua; St. Kitts Departure dates: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31

Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. All of these cruises include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

HAL Develops Program to Support Marine Protected Areas
As part of its "Our Marvelous Oceans" partnership with Marine Conservation Institute, Holland America Line has created a new program that highlights and educates guests and crew about marine protected areas around the world.

HAL Develops Program to Support Marine Protected AreasDeveloped with the team at Marine Conservation Institute, the program will educate guests and crew through on-board presentations by shipboard personnel. Topics will cover what a marine protected area is and how to visit one without causing harm to the habitat and wildlife. This information can be enhanced through participation in featured shore excursions.

"The goal of this partnership is to promote marine protected areas around the world — especially in those regions where our ships sail. The new program also will create enrichment opportunities for guests to learn more about these important conservation locations," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. "Together with Marine Conservation Institute, Holland America Line shares a belief in our responsibility to protect the oceans, and together we want to educate our guests and crew about these special places and about how we can collectively make a difference."

In the Caribbean the program will largely focus on marine life and a variety of tropical ecosystems. For example, in Key West, Fla., guests can go snorkeling in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to see the area's beautiful coral reefs. Or in San Juan, Puerto Rico, cruisers can embark on a unique nighttime kayak adventure into the bio-luminescent bay at Laguna Grande of Fajardo to learn about the water's organisms and see how they "light up" at night.

In Australia and New Zealand, regional programs include a nature cruise to observe Hector's dolphins at the Akaroa Marine Reserve at Akaroa, New Zealand. These are just a few of the excursions offered by Holland America Line that feature marine protected areas.

"We are excited to create another meaningful program in partnership with Holland America Line," said Dr. Lance Morgan, president of Marine Conservation Institute. "Marine protected areas are an important tool for safeguarding critical ecological places around the world, yet they receive little attention and awareness. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring more focus on these special ocean places."

The "Our Marvelous Oceans" partnership began in 2010 and will continue through 2016. The goal of the program is to educate guests and crew about marine conservation issues, including this new focus on sensitive marine protected areas. Holland America Line also continues to work with Marine Conservation Institute to provide sustainable seafood options for its guests.

Princess Cruises Partners with Discovery Consumer Products
Princess Cruises and Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications, today announced their collaboration to create Discovery At Sea, interactive onboard activities and shore excursions to entertain and delight families aboard Princess ships.

Princess Cruises Partners with Discovery Consumer ProductsThe new Discovery At Sea cruise vacations will feature themed tours, science activities, hands-on programs and games based on Discovery's breadth of brands and programming. Debuting on Princess Cruises' ships in early 2015, the interactive experiences are designed to bring to life the nature, wildlife and history of the regions guests are sailing.

Discovery At Sea content will be based on top-rated Discovery network properties from Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and Science Channel. Some of the integrations guests will experience are based on Shark Week, Mythbusters and Deadliest Catch.

Guests will be able to let their imaginations set sail with a variety of activities including:

• Discovery Under the Stars – Guests on select cruise vacations will forever look up at the night sky in a whole new way after this cosmic voyage from the ship's top deck.

• Shark Week at Sea – This experience will challenge adults and kids alike, testing their knowledge of the ocean with trivia games and a variety of themed activities.

• Baking at Sea with TLC – All ages will be able to join in the fun of learning to bake and decorate cakes by the best pastry chefs at sea.

• Discovery, Animal Planet and Science Channel Shore Excursions - Offerings will include panning for gold on the Gold Rush inspired tour; getting up-close with each destination's native animals during Animal Planet tours; and learning how popular foods and beverages go from farm to table on Science Channel How It's Made tours.

• Discovery Kids and Teens Program – Age-appropriate onboard activities will include fun and engaging science experiments made popular by Mythbusters; Animal Planet themed activities; brain teasers and competitions; and videos, puzzles, games and apps from Discovery.

"This is such an exciting partnership between our two companies because we are both passionate about exploring the world," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. "Discovery's brands resonate with a growing, global audience and we'll be bringing some of their most popular programs to life for our guests in the context of the destinations they are visiting on their cruise. We're creating meaningful and memorable shared experiences while also fueling a lifelong passion for travel."

"From science and nature to baking, crafting and exploration, the Discovery brands truly provide something for every cruiser to enjoy," said Nicolas Bonard, SVP of Global Discovery Consumer Products. "This partnership is the perfect integration of our brands into the amazing offering Princess provides its guests onboard, creating a truly unique experience igniting curiosity on every voyage."

To further enhance the cruise experience, Princess ships will feature a lineup of television programming including hit shows from Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC. Discovery limited-time-only merchandise will also be available onboard, offering passengers a chance to bring home branded keepsake souvenirs.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Announces Share Repurchase
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Announces Share RepurchaseRoyal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL) announced today that it has agreed to repurchase 3.5 million shares of common stock of the Company held by Awilhelmsen AS (Awilhelmsen). Concurrently, Awilhelmsen announced that it had today sold an additional 3.5 million shares to a financial institution in a market transaction pursuant to Rule 144 of the Securities Act. The price to be paid by RCL for its shares will equal the price paid by the financial institution to Awilhelmsen.

The last reported sale price of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) common stock on November 3, 2014 was $68.40 per share.

Following the sale of common stock by Awilhelmsen, and the repurchase of common stock by RCL, Awilhelmsen, together with its affiliates, will beneficially own approximately 16% of RCL's outstanding common stock. The repurchase will be funded from the Company's cash on hand.

"Our Board of Directors and management team believe in the long-term health and profitability of the Company. We believe this is an opportunistic repurchase transaction, which uses our cash on hand, is accretive to per-share earnings, and is beneficial to all shareholders of RCL," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer.

"This transaction gives Awilhelmsen an opportunity to diversify our investment portfolio while maintaining its significant position as the largest shareholder of RCL," said Sigurd E. Thorvildsen, its chief executive officer.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 40.07 + 4.54%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 68.40 + 7.16%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.89 + 5.09%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 39.07 + 10.62%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cruise ship received special permission to fly the flag of the United Nations in honor of the over 25 nationalities represented in her crew?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - While on a cruise, what should you do if you hear seven (7) or more short blasts on the ship's whistle and General Alarm, followed by one (1) long blast?

Answer - That is the general emergency signal. Some ships say first "Go to your cabin and pick up your lifejacket and medication" But in every case it means go to your muster station.
courtesy of scanlan at hotmail.com


Cruise News - October 27, 2014

Royal Caribbean Takes Delivery of Quantum of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International took delivery today of the newest addition to the cruise line’s fleet, Quantum of the Seas, from Meyer Werft Yard. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain and Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer attended the official signing ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany. With Captain Srecko “Felix” Ban at the helm, the ship will begin her journey today to Southampton, U.K., where she will welcome her first guests on November 2, for a trans-Atlantic voyage to her home port of Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne, New Jersey.

Royal Caribbean Takes Delivery of Quantum of the SeasQuantum of the Seas will sail from New York harbor to the Bahamas and the Caribbean for her inaugural season before departing for her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China, in May 2015. Sister-ship Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton in April 2015 and sail Mediterranean itineraries.

Quantum-class ships are the world’s most technologically advanced in the world with “boatloads of bandwidth” which allow the cruise line to offer unprecedented connectivity – 500 times more than any other cruise ship; easy-to-use systems that expand guest choices and simplify schedules, plus, RFID technology that speeds up the boarding process and allows guest to track their luggage every step of the way.

The ships offer new unprecedented features, such as RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; as well as the Bionic Bar powered by Makr Shakr which features the world’s first robotic bartenders.

The ships also showcase the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever staterooms with Virtual Balconies, which offer expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations from every interior stateroom.

Quantum-class ships span 16 guest decks; encompass 167,800 gross registered tons; carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy; and feature 2,090 staterooms.

Costa Takes Delivery of New Flagship
Costa Diadema, the fifteenth ship and new flagship of Costa Cruises fleet, was presented today to Costa Cruises at the Fincantieri shipyard. Costa Cruises has invested a total of around 550 million euro in the construction of the Costa Diadema at Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera.

Costa Diadema, the fifteenth ship and new flagship of Costa Cruises fleet, was presented today to Costa Cruises at the Fincantieri shipyardThe project has involved approximately 1,000 shipyard workers plus another 2,500 subcontractors and about 400 contracted suppliers, most of which are Italian firms, engaged for the fitting-out of the interiors of the cruise ship. Costa Diadema is the 12th cruise ship built in Italy by Fincantieri for Costa, with a total investment worth more than 5 billion euro.

“Costa Diadema is our new flagship, she will set new standards in the European cruise industry and further strengthen Costa's leadership in Europe. She is the best expression of our new brand positioning: Italy's finest. It`s passion and modern Italian lifestyle, hospitality and elegance" commented Costa Crociere S.p.A CEO, Michael Thamm.

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri S.p.A. said:“Costa Diadema is the 44th cruise ship we have built since 2002, the 12th cruise ship we have built for our friends fromCosta Crociere. This is thus a very special occasion to us and we are very proud to present the latest result of the Italian excellence, which confirms our leading position in ship design and construction for cruise sector, a sector without parallel in terms of technological complexity and competitiveness.” Bono concluded: “Today, during this day of celebration, I express my wish that this fruitful cooperation between two main national companies may continue and bring good luck to the whole country.”

At 132,500 gross tons, more than 300 meters long and 37 meters wide, Costa Diadema has 1,862 guest cabins and will be an Ambassador of Italy’s finest offering the best of Italian lifestyle, entertainment, gastronomy and hospitality. The new flagship’s interiors are even cozier, roomier and more modern in terms of facilities and layout of her public areas. She is a cutting-edge vessel which offers large, split-level rooms directly overlooking the sea and conveniently interconnected, thus evoking the atmosphere of a buzzing Italian seaside resort.

The perfect example is the outside promenade on deck five – a real “terrazza all’italiana”, extending over 500 meters, where guests can go for a stroll and enjoy the spectacular view over the sea, or, even better, relaxing in one of the several bars and restaurants, drinking a cocktail or having a romantic dinner.

After the delivery, Costa Diadema will set sail from Venice on October 30 and will reach Trieste, from which her “vernissage cruise” will start on November 1, then will call at Dubrovnik, Corfù, Malta, Naples, to then end in Genoa on November 7, for the Christening event. After the vernissage, from November 8, she will depart for three 7-day inaugural cruises.

As “Regina del Mediterraneo”, Costa Diadema will be deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. From November 8 until the end of 2015 Summer season, the new flagship will leave from Savona on 7-day cruises in the western Mediterranean Sea, calling every week at Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Naples and La Spezia. They will offer the chance to visit during a single cruise Florence and Naples, two of the most popular Italian cities, and beautiful Mediterranean cities like Barcelona and Marseille.

Disney Reveals Ports and Itineraries for 2016
Disney Cruise Line introduces two popular Caribbean destinations -- Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Martinique -- into the lineup of favorite tropical itineraries for early 2016. The return to the homeport of San Juan, Puerto Rico brings a new itinerary that includes Martinique.

Disney Reveals Ports and Itineraries for 2016From the warm Caribbean culture of Tortola, capital of the British Virgin Islands, to the exquisite French island of Martinique, these destinations provide Disney Cruise Line guests the chance to relax on pristine beaches, discover natural wonders and indulge in local shopping and cuisine.

Port Canaveral to Eastern Caribbean, including Tortola - In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral, Fla. on a seven-night itinerary to the Eastern Caribbean, including a call at Tortola and Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Tortola is an idyllic escape for guests of all ages, from tranquil beaches and stunning scenery to exhilarating activities and authentic Caribbean fare. With a variety of experiences for the family to share together, Disney Cruise Line guests will create memories in Tortola while swimming with dolphins, exploring centuries-old ruins, sampling local spices on Main Street and reveling in the natural beauty of Sage Mountain National Park.

Ports: Port Canaveral; Tortola; St. Thomas; Castaway Cay
Departure dates: Disney Fantasy: Jan. 2, 16, 30; Feb. 13, 27; March 12, 26; April 9, 23; Disney Magic: April 3, 17

San Juan to Southern Caribbean, including Martinique - Disney Cruise Line returns to San Juan, Puerto Rico in early 2016 as the Disney Wonder sails four seven-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean, including a stop in Martinique on a new itinerary for Disney.

Known as the "Flower of the Caribbean," Martinique offers a unique island experience complete with breathtaking natural beauty and cosmopolitan culture of French and Creole influence. Nature-lovers will delight in lush rainforests, rushing waterfalls and volcanic landmarks, while guests looking for a more upscale experience will savor superb French cuisine and superlative shopping.

Ports: San Juan; Barbados; Grenada; Martinique; Antigua; St. Kitts

Departure dates: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31

Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean - In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. All of these cruises include a stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.

Royal Caribbean Reports Third Quarter Results
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL) today reported third quarter results and provided a preliminary outlook for 2015. Net Yields and Net Cruise Costs as well as Adjusted Net Income all performed about as expected for the quarter generating Adjusted Net Income growth of 31% to $493 million.

Royal Caribbean Reports Third Quarter ResultsEarly bookings for 2015 are robust and the current order book is better than at the same time last year in both volume and price. Based on this, the company's current earnings estimates are consistent with Street consensus of $4.55 per share for 2015. "It was another very positive quarter as we progress methodically toward our DOUBLE-DOUBLE goals," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. "We are positioned nicely on the eve of delivery of the highly anticipated Quantum of the Seas."

THIRD QUARTER RESULTS

Adjusted Net Income for the third quarter of 2014 was $492.9 million, or $2.20 per share, compared to Adjusted Net Income of $377 million, or $1.71 per share, in the third quarter of 2013. US GAAP Net Income for the third quarter 2014 was $490.2 million or $2.19 per share, compared to $365.7 million or $1.65 per share in 2013.

Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis increased 4.2% during the quarter. Onboard and Other Revenue drove the slight upside, particularly in Europe and Alaska, with onboard revenue yields also increasing 4.4% during the quarter.

Constant-Currency NCC excluding fuel decreased 1.2% mainly due to timing. Bunker pricing net of hedging for the third quarter was $688 per metric ton and consumption was 335,000 metric tons.

FULL YEAR 2014

Royal Caribbean said that it expects full year Adjusted EPS to be approximately $3.45 per share. Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to increase approximately 2.5%, consistent with the mid-point of previous guidance. NCC excluding fuel are expected to be flat to slightly down on a Constant-Currency basis, consistent with prior guidance.

"Despite the usual swings, the trajectory for 2014 continues along the path described three months ago," said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer. "Our satisfaction with the positive results in Europe and Asia continues unabated, as does our eagerness to lap the highly promotional Caribbean environment."

Bookings since the July earnings release have been solid and Royal Caribbean said that it continues to be booked ahead of last year in both load factor and APD. Double-digit yield improvements on Europe and China sailings continue to offset the continuation of a highly promotional Caribbean environment.

The US Dollar has strengthened recently and that has a net negative impact on our earnings. Correspondingly, the price of fuel in world markets has declined and net of hedging that has had a small positive impact. The net impact of these two items is a negative $0.10 in 2014. Over time, we believe there is a certain degree of inverse correlation between these factors, but such offsets are not complete and short run fluctuations are inevitable. Royal Caribbean pointed out that it had previously raised its guidance for 2014 partially based on the weakening of the US Dollar earlier in the year.

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects 2014 Adjusted EPS to be approximately $3.45 per share.

Royal Caribbean said that it also described an immaterial accounting change they have made this quarter relating to partially completed voyages. For voyages of more than 10 nights, Royal Caribbean said that it prorates the revenue and cruise operating costs of the voyage at the end of each quarter. However, for shorter cruises, Royal Caribbean said that it has historically only recognized the revenue and related costs upon completion of the voyage. Thus, for shorter cruises, revenue and related costs were not recognized for partially completed voyages between quarters. For example, the revenue from a seven night New Year's cruise would only be recognized when the cruise ended in January even if most of the cruise took place in December. Royal Caribbean said that it has historically followed this "completed voyage" approach on its shorter voyages because the difference was immaterial and the effort required to prorate the shorter voyages was not cost beneficial. The accumulation of new technology and process improvements have simplified the task, and beginning in the third quarter, the company now prorates all voyages.

This change has no material effect on our earnings, yields or cost metrics. In 2014, there is an element of normalization related to prior years which will benefit earnings this year by approximately $0.13 per share. Because it relates to prior years, Royal Caribbean said that it has excluded this benefit from Adjusted Earnings. This is consistent with the company's previous approach to Adjusted Earnings guidance. Also in the third quarter, Royal Caribbean said that it recognized a loss on the sale of the Celebrity Century of approximately $0.08. Together, these two items increased EPS by $0.05 per share which has been excluded from Adjusted EPS but included in GAAP EPS.

In addition, largely due to the entry and success of Quantum of the Seas, we expect a proration benefit in 2014 related to this year's December sailings of approximately $0.07 which has been included in our Adjusted Earnings guidance.

FOURTH QUARTER 2014

Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to be up approximately 3.5% in the fourth quarter of 2014 and NCC excluding fuel are expected to be up in the range of 2% to 3%. TUI Cruises' additional capacity continues to be a key contributor to earnings for the fourth quarter. Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates and currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects fourth quarter Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $0.35 to $0.40 per share.

2015 OUTLOOK

Royal Caribbean said that it is experiencing strong early booking trends for 2015. Booked load factors and APDs are higher than same time last year and the booking window has extended. Europe sailings are off to a particularly good start, with strong booking trends from North America and from Europe. Caribbean pricing pressure continues through the first quarter, but we expect it to improve thereafter.

It is early days yet, but the view looking forward is very encouraging and Royal Caribbean said that it is optimistic that 2015 will be the sixth consecutive year for yield growth. Royal Caribbean said that it has sufficient visibility into 2015 to say that it is comfortable with the Street consensus of $4.55 per share. That would represent more than a 30% increase over this year's record profitability.

"We anticipate another record year in 2015, an important step on the way to DOUBLE-DOUBLE," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our strategy continues to drive better revenues, and coupled with cost discipline and moderate growth, we will continue to excel."

Britannia’s “Multi-Sensory” Menus Bring New Flavor to Fine Dining
When P&O Cruises launches its new ship Britannia next March, creativity, quality, flavour and variety, combined with a touch of theatre, will be the principles behind the ship’s impressive food offerings. These principles will be never more evident than in two of the ship’s fine dining venues – Sindhu and Epicurean – which will continue to build on P&O Cruises reputation for excellence in dining.

P&O Unveils Britannia's LiveryP&O Cruises’ marketing director Christopher Edgington said: “In recent years, our guests’ palates have become increasingly more sophisticated and our culinary offering needs to reflect this change. In Sindhu, guests will enjoy unique and innovative Indian cuisine combining Atul Kochhar’s heritage with his love of British ingredients, while in Epicurean they’ll be treated to a brand new multi-sensory cooking experience with touches of molecular gastronomy that complement the more traditional dishes. Both restaurants demonstrate our passion for good food at P&O Cruises”

Sindhu - P&O Cruises has always been proud of its long-standing affiliation with India and Sindhu celebrates this in style. Michelin star holder and ‘master of spices’, Atul Kochhar is the creator of Sindhu where he will showcase his unrivalled flair for fine dining using big bold flavours combining his homeland’s spices with quality British and European ingredients. Examples of dishes include:

Starters
• Jal Tarang: Pan-fried hand dived scallops with textures of parsnip
• JKarara Kekda: Crisp fried soft shell crab with tomato, cucumber and passion fruit salsa
• JMachchi Amritsari: Pan fried cod fillet with Ajwain seeds and crushed spiced peas
• JTandoori Ratan: Rajasthani smoked lamb chop, chicken seekh kebab and basil marinated king prawns

Main Courses
• JKonju Kari: Native lobster fricassée with rice pancakes, asparagus and Atul’s signature malabar sauce
• JBatak Falliyan: seared gressingham duck breast in Punjabi masala with three bean stew and crispy duck skin
• JKhumb Khichidi: Stir fried wild mushrooms with lentils, seasonal truffle and rice kedgeree
• JTandoori Machhi: Taggiasca olive marinated salmon, cumin baked potatoes and white asparagus
• JAtul’s Signature Plate: Lamb rogan josh, chicken murgh kesari korma and tandoori salmon macchi

Desserts
• JMasaledar Chaklet: Warm five spiced chocolate pudding with tarragon and blood orange sorbet
• JMungfali aur Chaklet: Peanut butter parfait with palm sugar ice cream
• JBerry Bhapia Doi: Yoghurt cheese cake with Hibiscus tea jelly and textures of raspberry

In addition to this extensive and varied menu, Sindhu also offers a bar menu featuring Nashta – Indian tapas.

Epicurean - This fine dining restaurant offers an extraordinary experience where a sense of occasion is always on the menu. Fusing classic dining elements with the best of modern British cuisine in a sophisticated and contemporary setting, the emphasis is on grand style and flawless service. Using the finest and freshest produce presented with great skill to achieve maximum flavour, the dishes are simple allowing the ingredients to be the stars of the show. Chefs utilise the principles of molecular gastronomy and techniques such as precision temperature cooking, freeze drying and fuming flasks of liquid nitrogen in order to enhance taste, texture and appearance. This meeting of science and cuisine will challenge guests’ notions of food and take them on a defining culinary journey. The menu features a selection of classic and contemporary dishes including:

Starters
• Chicken and morel mushroom mousseline with pistachio crumble: duck liver parfait, sweet and sour pickled vegetables and spinach anglaise
• Devonshire white crab, langoustine and caviar cocktail: pea and chervil custard, parchment bread and a cucumber Mojito
• Salt and pepper oyster and jumbo prawn tempura: horseradish ice cream, umami seaweed dip and a sweet pimento squeeze
• Buttered green and white asparagus: crisp deep fried egg and textures of bacon, ham and pancetta

Main Courses
• Salt Marsh lamb rack with slow cooked glazed lamb breast and mini crafted shepherd’s pie: samphire shoots, butternut squash purée and a rosemary and mint jelly
• Butter poached lobster tail and glazed pavé of boneless beef short rib: sour cream crushed new potatoes and a melting cheese lollipop
• Loin of wild boar with a smoked pork cheek croquette and Lancashire black pudding: beetroot and blackberry cabbage, vanilla charred pear and boulangère potatoes
• Herb roasted poulet de Bresse: chicken pastilla, vegetable dauphinoise, baby leeks, morel velouté and chorizo Foam

Desserts
• Black Forest popping candy torte: Dorset cherry ice cream and a shot of New York cream soda
• Caramelised apple crumble: flaming apple and sherry sorbet and a rhubarb and custard cream
• Lime leaf pannacotta and coconut butter milk foam: caramelised puff pastry and Alphonso mango relish
• Glazed banana with a Caribbean demerara rum tot: peanut butter parfait and aerated dark chocolate

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 38.33 + 6.71%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 63.83 +4.25%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.75 + 1.10%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 35.32 + 7.32%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
While on a cruise, what should you do if you hear seven (7) or more short blasts on the ship's whistle and General Alarm, followed by one (1) long blast?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - The STEFAN BATORY or Polish Ocean Lines was the last vessel with regularly scheduled trans-atlantic service (aside from the QE2). In her earlier Holland America life she was named MAASDAM.
courtesy of Christopher in L.A.


Cruise News - October 20, 2014

Royal Caribbean Brings Wi-Fi to NYC Subway
Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape LibertyThe world’s first smartship Quantum of the Seas is set to arrive into New York Harbor on Nov. 10, 2014, and Royal Caribbean is counting down the days until her big debut. In anticipation of the ship’s arrival, Quantum of the Seas is making waves across NYC billboards, screens and digital displays capturing the attention of New Yorkers everywhere…including underground.

With Quantum of the Seas introducing a wave of technological features that have never before been possible at sea, including ultrafast wireless capability that allows for unprecedented connectivity, the cruise line partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to bring free Wi-Fi to underground subway platforms in Manhattan and Queens.

Highlights of Quantum of the Seas range from RipCord by iFLY, a heart pounding skydiving experience, to Bionic Bar, which is home to the world’s first robotic bartenders, a number of first-at-sea experiences including bumper cars and roller skating, and North Star, an engineering marvel that gently rises more than 300 feet in the air to take guests on a spectacular journey with awe-inspiring, 360-degree views.

The Quantum Class spans 18 decks, encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms.

Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty for her inaugural season before departing to her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China. Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton, U.K. in April 2015 sailing Mediterranean itineraries.

CLIA Details Protocol in Resonse to Carnival Magic Ebola Scare/Overreaction
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) President and CEO, Christine Duffy, issued the following statement today regarding the successful disembarkation of a passenger on the Carnival Magic who was under self-monitoring for potential exposure to Ebola.

CLIA Details Protocol in Resonse to Carnival Magic Ebola Scare/Overreaction"CLIA is very pleased that the passenger, who was asymptomatic, has tested negative for Ebola and was safely disembarked with her loved one at the Port of Galveston today, which is the homeport of Carnival Magic. We commend Carnival and the public health authorities for their effective and successful response in managing this situation professionally and with transparent and regular communication to everyone onboard the ship and to the public. We also congratulate all of the ship's passengers and Crewmembers, who responded calmly and responsibly to the directions of the ship's officers and public health authorities.

"CLIA and its member cruise lines have worked diligently and in conjunction with public health authorities to develop and distribute to all cruise line members strong protocols, and additional guidance, to reduce even further the already low risk of Ebola on a cruise ship. These prevention measures apply to passengers, crew and visitors and include:

• Denial of boarding to anyone arriving from countries designated with a Level 3 Travel Health warning by CDC.

• Denial of boarding to anyone who traveled to, in or through those countries within 21 days before embarkation.

• "Contact screening," in addition to travel history screening, and denial of boarding for anyone who had physical contact with, or helped care for, a person with Ebola within 21 days before embarkation.

"These measures are not static. CLIA and its member cruise lines are continually evaluating the situation with Ebola and are in regular contact with public health officials to assess the need to enhance the industry's protocols. Out of an abundance of caution and care for the well-being of our guests and Crewmembers, our measures typically go beyond what is technically required.

"We are also actively engaged with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other sectors of the travel industry, to assist the Federal government in quickly establishing a robust protocol for identifying any member of the traveling public designated by the CDC for monitoring.

"CLIA and its member cruise lines remain vigilant in our efforts to provide for the well-being of our guests and Crewmembers."

Princess Launches Honeymoon Wishes Online Registry
Princess Cruises is helping newlyweds enjoy the honeymoon of their dreams with a new online Honeymoon Wishes Registry. Couples can easily sign up at the line’s honeymoon registry page, select desired gifts to enhance their cruise vacation and share with family and friends.

Princess Launches Honeymoon Wishes Online RegistryThis feature allows couples to choose from a list of options they wish to enjoy on their honeymoon, from contributions to the cruise, drinks by the pool, specialty dining, relaxing spa treatments and shore excursions. All gifts are applied as an onboard credit to the couple’s stateroom account to use on board during their honeymoon cruise. Couples can also create a wedding website to share photos and details about how they met, their engagement and wedding, e-mail their friends and family directing them to the registry and print out announcement cards that can be shared.

“Our new online Honeymoon Wishes Registry feature gives newlyweds a simple way to customize their honeymoon cruise and select their desired amenities to enjoy onboard,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “For the last 16 years, we’ve made wedding dreams come true with our unique weddings at sea program and this new offering is a wonderful extension to give couples ease and flexibility in creating their own gift registries.”

When Princess launched its seagoing weddings program in 1998, the cruise line made maritime and marriage history - and turned cruising lore into reality - by having the captain join couples in marriage. Until that point, there had been a common misconception that any ship captain was empowered to join couples in matrimony, but in truth, no such ceremony was ever conducted aboard a major cruise ship.

Today, Princess’ “Tie the Knot” wedding program has grown to not only offer these special at-sea wedding ceremonies on its cruise ships, but also include fleet-wide harborside ceremonies in embarkation ports or weddings ashore in select ports of call. Together these options have created one of the cruise industry’s most diverse and unique wedding programs, offering the convenience of a wedding and honeymoon in one customizable package that makes this milestone celebration easy and hassle-free.

Holland America Announces Management Changes
Joe Slattery has been promoted to the position of senior vice president, global marketing and sales for Holland America Line. In this newly created role, Slattery will oversee marketing and distribution in all worldwide markets, developing and executing initiatives that support Holland America Line’s revenue growth objectives.

Joe Slattery has been promoted to the position of senior vice president, global marketing and sales for Holland America LineSlattery — a 21-year company veteran — will continue to report to Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest programs.

“Joe has significantly expanded the reach and depth of our international sales initiatives, and the success of our offices in Rotterdam, the U.K. and Australia, and our growth in emerging markets around the world, can be attributed to his guidance,” said Meadows. “We are confident that all of our global markets will benefit from his strong vision and leadership and we congratulate him on this well-deserved promotion.”

Since 2008, Slattery has been Holland America Line’s vice president, international sales and marketing. Since joining the company in 1993 as a marketing product manager, Slattery has accumulated a wide range of experience in multiple executive roles, including vice president, revenue planning, and vice president, revenue marketing, where he was responsible for deployment and itinerary planning, revenue management and direct marketing.

Mark Kammerer has been named vice president, international marketing and sales for Holland America Line and Seabourn. In this role, he will be responsible for the companies’ sales offices in the U.K., the Netherlands and Australia, as well as Holland America Line and Seabourn’s growing international business.

Kammerer will report to Joe Slattery, Holland America Line’s senior vice president, global marketing and sales.

“Mark brings incredible knowledge and experience to this position, and his expertise supports the continued growth in our international presence,” said Slattery. “Mark has proven himself to be a creative thinker and inspiring leader, and I look forward to working with him.”

In his previous positions at Holland America Line, Kammerer was responsible for marketing and North American sales, as well as worldwide cruise marketing. Prior to joining the cruise line, Kammerer worked at several leading travel industry organizations including Virtuoso and Expedia Inc.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 35.92 + 6.02%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 61.23 +10.62%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.72 - 6.21%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 32.91 + 2.94%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which famous liner included the Knickerbocker Bar with artwork depicting the evolution of the cocktail?

Answer - It was the Empress of Britain which had the the Knickerbocker Bar with artwork depicting the evolution of the cocktail?
courtesy of William Niff


Cruise News - October 13, 2014

Oasis of the Seas Returns From Drydock
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas emerged from a 14-day drydock today with a new look including reimagined dining, game-changing high-speed internet, exciting new retail offerings, a new popular and favorite Broadway show, new suites with exclusive suite dining and lounge. Sistership Allure of the Seas will follow suit in May 2015 with nearly identical enhancements. During their respective drydock, each ship’s seven neighborhoods will be enhanced as part of the cruises line’s Royal Advantage commitment to deliver the best vacation offerings and to introduce guests to even more new features and personalized experiences that can only be found when sailing with Royal Caribbean.

Oasis of the Seas, at Rotterdam, the Netherlands, during her 14-day drydock “Royal Caribbean’s legacy of innovation brought the revolutionary Oasis-class ships to life and in that spirit, during the Oasis of the Seas’ and Allure of the Seas’ drydocks we are adding features and experiences to wow our guests even more,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, executive vice president, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “One of the many exciting new features is Dynamic Dining, which has received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests. We are expanding this new dining program, in line with our Royal Advantage commitment, to offer our guests and prospective consumers the amenities that appeal most to them according to the feedback we receive.”

Even More New Culinary Concepts:

• A key element of any vacation, dining provides vacation-goers with the opportunity to experience new flavors and indulge in old favorites. Royal Caribbean’s Dynamic Dining, allows guests to tempt their taste buds with more choice and flexibility than ever before by offering guests a landscape of 20 restaurants, as vast and varied as dining in the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.
• Royal Caribbean has recreated the original Oasis-class three-story main dining room into three distinct complimentary venues introducing bold new concepts each with their own cuisine and ambiance:
• American Icon Grill offers guests a take on the classic American road trip pulling together best-loved regional favorites into one comfort-style menu;
• Silk is a vibrant and exotic destination where the spices of the Far East bring new flavor to adventurous palates through a Pan-Asian menu;
• The Grande, where every night is formal night, offers an elegant ambiance and refined cuisine.

Guests will enjoy menus of the new concepts beginning March 14, 2015, onboard Oasis of the Seas. Guests sailing Oasis of the Seas prior to March 14, will enjoy the traditional dining room experience in the newly designed spaces.

As part of Dynamic Dining guests will have full control of their own epicurean journey with a tantalizing selection of specialty restaurants including four new unique concepts:

• Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, a reimagined Izumi Japanese Cuisine offering a full teppanyaki menu as well as fresh and flavorful sushi rolls and sashimi;
• Sabor Taqueria & Tequila Bar, first introduced aboard Navigator of the Seas to rave reviews, will feature a mouthwatering menu of authentic, modern and unexpected Mexican dishes including hand-made tableside guacamole. These dishes can be complemented by a curated beverage menu of tequilas, mezcal, and Mexican beers, as well as delicious sangrias and tableside-mixed margaritas;
• Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, a unique culinary adventure for the senses where Royal Caribbean chefs twist their culinary kaleidoscopes in a whimsical setting that challenges the imagination with never-before-seen fare;
• Coastal Kitchen is an exclusive restaurant for suite guests and Pinnacle members, that fuses Mediterranean influences with the unmatched riches of California’s bountiful farmlands and features. The experience is complemented by a robust wine list, curated specifically for the venue.

Finally guests will continue to enjoy Giovanni’s Table, 150 Central Park and Vintage Wine Bar, the hugely successful specialty dining concepts introduced on the Oasis-class in 2009.

Technology - Royal Caribbean’s commitment to provide the best vacation experience is at the heart of its Royal Advantage program which takes its latest innovations and most popular features and expands them to even its newest ships, such as:

• Boatloads of Bandwidth, the game-changing partnership with technology partner O3b that will offer guests onboard Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas connectivity that matches fast broadband connections onshore and is greater than all other cruise ships combined. These new capabilities, allow the cruise line to offer affordable, easy-to-use Internet packages so that guests may watch streaming video, check email, share images on social media and enjoy face-to-face video conversations – even in the middle of the ocean.
• Royal iQ is a new app that puts guests in charge of their vacation choices. Thanks to the dramatically improved connectivity, Royal iQ is able to continue dining reservations, shore excursions and spa appointments onboard, through both a downloadable app and at freestanding iQ stations around the ship. Guests also can use Royal iQ as a convenient calendar that provides at-a-glance views of their program and to keep in touch with one another and home via phone and text capabilities.

New Exclusive Suite Experience - Royal Caribbean is introducing 10 new suites on Oasis-class ships, offering breathtaking views of the ocean or the ships’ signature AquaTheater and Boardwalk neighborhood and includes, two Royal Suites, six Grand Suites and two Royal Family Suites, which can accommodate up to six guests. These suites offer a new level of sophistication when paired with the variety of new exclusive suite amenities that include:

• The Suite Lounge, an exclusive lounge area for suite guests to relax offering unmatched expansive views of the ship and sea;
• The Sun Deck, a new sun deck area that gives suites guests the chance to soak-up and relax in the Caribbean sun with lounge furniture, shaded and seating areas and private service;
• Coastal Kitchen is a suites only full-service restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner with a Mediterranean flare.

New Broadway Show - Oasis of the Seas’ introduced the first-ever, fully-licensed Broadway show at sea and now, the ship will bring one of the longest running productions on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber’sTony award winning CATS to sea for the first time. Beginning June 2015, sister ship Allure of the Seas will feature MAMMA MIA!, the smash hit musical based on the story-telling magic of ABBA's timeless songs.

Superior Shopping at Sea - Known for its first at sea offerings, Royal Caribbean is introducing the playfully sophisticated designs of kate spade new york to Oasis-class on its popular Royal Promenade, a first at sea. Rounding out the diverse onboard shopping are two guest favorites Michael Kors and the Britto Art Gallery, as well as a whole new line-up of merchandise and fashion jewelry such as, Alexis Bittar, Uno de 50, Lauren G Adams, and Nina Nguyen.

Norwegian Cruise Line Appoints New President and Chief Operating Officer
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: NCLH) announced today that hospitality veteran Drew Madsen has joined as president and chief operating officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. Madsen brings a strong track record of success to Norwegian with more than 30 years of leadership experience in the hospitality and consumer products industry, most recently as president and chief operating officer at Darden Restaurants, Inc., the world's largest full-service restaurant company.

Norwegian Cruise Line Appoints New President and Chief Operating Officer"Having delivered exceptional results during his tenure at Darden, Drew has a wealth of experience to draw upon as he joins Norwegian," said Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. "We are at an exciting point in our company's history. With the upcoming acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Inc., it is the opportune time to add such a talented individual to our already diversified leadership team to focus on the core day-to-day business. I am confident in Drew as a results-oriented, highly collaborative and thoughtful leader who will continue to propel Norwegian on our positive growth trajectory."

Madsen played an instrumental role in establishing Darden as the most successful multi-brand operator in the full-service restaurant industry, increasing sales from $4.8 billion to $8.6 billion, while delivering a cumulative total shareholder return of 110% that significantly exceeded the S&P 500 by more than 47%. He also had the distinction of having Darden recognized as one of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" ? a first for the food service industry that was repeated for three consecutive years.

Prior to Darden, Drew held leadership and marketing positions at James River Corporation and General Mills, among others. Throughout his career, he has consistently demonstrated an ability to produce results that led to improved operating margins, increased guest satisfaction, superior market penetration and an enhanced level of employee fulfillment.

"I am thrilled to be starting the next chapter of my career at Norwegian Cruise Line," said Madsen. "I am looking forward to ensuring that Norwegian excels in every facet of operation and that we continue to produce industry leading financial results, while also bringing new ideas and ways of doing business that improve guest satisfaction and team member involvement."

Madsen holds a master of business administration with distinction from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's degree in economics from DePauw University.

Keel-Laying Ceremony Held For New Carnival Vista
ms Veendam weaves among the stunning Hawaiian IslandsCarnival Cruise Lines’ newest ship, the 3,954-passenger Carnival Vista, achieved a significant construction milestone with a traditional keel-laying ceremony held earlier today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

The 133,500-ton vessel – the largest “Fun Ship” ever constructed – is set to debut in spring 2016.

The ceremony – which dates back hundreds of years – signifies the official start of construction of a seagoing vessel.

The 25th vessel in Carnival’s fleet, Carnival Vista will feature a variety of Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar and entertainment offerings as well as several innovations unique to this vessel.

Additional design details, as well as homeport and itinerary information, are expected to be unveiled early next year

Three HAL Ships Sail to Mexico and Hawaii in 2014
From fall 2014 through spring 2015, Holland America Line heads to the tropics of Hawaii and explores the spirit of Mexico with a variety of itineraries ranging in length from seven to 18 days. Two ships will sail the azure waters of Mexico, while ms Veendam weaves among the stunning Hawaiian Islands.

ms Veendam weaves among the stunning Hawaiian Islands"Holland America Line carefully crafts our itineraries to showcase the best of each region, and the Mexico and Hawaii itineraries are the ultimate journey for any traveler looking to visit these destinations," said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line's executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest programs. "From our onboard enrichment programming to the selection of ports, guests cruising on one of our elegant mid-size ships will have the most immersive and memorable experience possible."

The line's cruises to Mexico on ms Veendam and ms Statendam from October 2014 through March 2015 visit some of the most beautiful ports in the country and conveniently sail roundtrip San Diego, Calif. Veendam sails seven-day Mexican Riviera itineraries to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, with scenic cruising in Bahia Magdalena. Statendam offers a 12-day Sea of Cortez adventure that highlights six Mexican ports and an overnight at Puerto Vallarta.

The five sailings to Hawaii in winter and spring 2014-15 aboard ms Veendam feature relaxing days at sea and calls at five Hawaiian ports. These 17- and 18-day itineraries also sail roundtrip from San Diego. Select back-to-back Veendam itineraries in November and December can be combined to form the ultimate 24- or 25-day Mexico and Hawaii Collectors' Voyage.

During the longer sailings with more sea days, guests can enjoy all of the onboard experiences that are exclusive to the premium cruise line. On each of these cruises guests will get to take part in cultural activities such as lei making, ukulele lessons, live mariachi band concerts and an extensive lecture lineup as part of Holland America Line's "On Location" program. The itinerary sets the theme for guests to indulge in localized experiences that make time onboard as enriching as visiting the ports of call through lectures, demonstrations and performances.

Princess Cruises to Mark 50th Anniversary with Onboard Celebrations
The 50th anniversary of Princess Cruises will be especially memorable for guests cruising in 2015, as they will be treated to festive onboard celebrations including a themed menu, cocktails and entertainment.

Princess Cruises to Mark 50th Anniversary with Onboard Celebrations"We love helping our guests celebrate their many milestone occasions aboard their cruises, so to be able to mark our company's golden anniversary with them in 2015 is very special," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "We've developed many not-to-be-missed experiences commemorating our 50th and we know our guests will thoroughly enjoy the lively atmosphere found on board during our anniversary year."

The following anniversary offerings will be introduced across the fleet early in 2015:

• Love Boat Disco Deck Party – To honor the iconic role The Love Boat played in the line's history, a new Love Boat Disco Party will celebrate the beloved program by creating an exciting 70's theme night with a few surprises. Movies Under the Stars will showcase video messages from the original Love Boat cast, special montages from the show, a Love Boat sing-a-long and show trivia, 70's music videos and even a live kiss cam. The party will also feature a production number, a celebration of weddings and anniversaries of guests onboard, a photo opportunity with a Love Boat life ring and plenty of dancing with a party band.

• Festive Food - One night on every cruise, the main dining rooms will present a special souvenir menu, featuring commemorative dishes from the past five decades, including Duck Terrine with Apricot Preserves and Filet of Turbot with Truffle Chive Sauce. Known for offering "the best pizza at sea," Princess chefs will also introduce a variety of new anniversary pizzas such as Spicy Tomato & Shrimp, Potato, Bacon & Brie and Thai.

• Chocolate Journeys – As part of the new "Chocolate Journeys" experience, renowned master pastry chef and chocolatier Norman Love has created two special 50th anniversary desserts that will be served to guests during their cruise vacations - Chocolate Raspberry Mousse with Vanilla Creme Brulee and Crunchy Shortbread or Moist Chocolate Dome with Raspberry Creme Brulee and Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse. These two desserts will alternate from one voyage to another.

• Cheers to 50 Years – Guests can sip inventive cocktails from renowned mixologist Spike Marchant along with popular drinks through the decades - from a classic martini to a pina colada. A special half-bottle anniversary-labeled Prosecco will be offered and the new Seawitch West Coast IPA craft beer especially brewed for the 50th anniversary will be available.

• Let Us Entertain You – A 50th celebration in the signature Piazza will feature a golden balloon drop and some balloons will even feature surprise giveaway items hidden inside. A special anniversary song, "Here's to Princess," celebrating the line's history will also be performed. Guests can also compete in exciting game shows and test their knowledge with the Princess Trivia Challenge - 50th Anniversary edition. Plus, on select sailings, guests can dance to the music of tribute bands - like the Beatlemaniacs - bringing the greatest hits over the decades to life.

• 50th Anniversary Decor and Guest Giveaways – Anniversary decor and signage will be displayed from the time guests arrive in the terminal (domestic home ports only) and be visible through various onboard touches, including a spectacular anniversary display cake presented in the atrium. A 50th anniversary tote bag and commemorative time line will be placed in each guest stateroom upon embarkation. In addition, guests will notice the 50th anniversary logo on their stateroom key cards and on the daily Princess Patter. A series of videos will also play on stateroom televisions that share the company's history and milestone moments. Each cruise ship in the fleet will also be adorned with a 50th anniversary flag on the bow.

• Commemorative Keepsakes – The onboard boutiques, voted "Best Onboard Shopping" six consecutive years by Porthole magazine, will offer limited edition merchandise and exclusive offers during the anniversary celebration. Plus, the photo department will have commemorative backdrops and folios to capture the memories of guests' cruise vacations.

The 50th anniversary officially kicks off with the naming ceremony of Regal Princess on November 5, 2014, in Ft. Lauderdale by the original Love Boat cast members before she sets sail for her maiden season of Caribbean cruises. Some of the 50th anniversary onboard offerings will be available aboard Regal Princess beginning in November and roll out to the rest of the fleet in early 2015.

Viking Ocean Cruises Announces Captain Of Viking Star
Captain Gulleik SvalastogViking Ocean Cruises today announced that Captain Gulleik Svalastog will be at the helm of its first ocean ship – the 930-passenger Viking Star – which will take on its first guests in April 2015.

Leveraging his experience as a cruise captain in Norway, Captain Svalastog will command and oversee the operation, crew and safety of the ship in its maiden season in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. Viking has also released today a new online video interview with Captain Svalastog.

Svalastog brings 45 years of sailing experience to Viking Ocean Cruises. He has held a variety of senior ship management positions and has worked as superintendent for Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises and as Lead Auditor for Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

His most recent position held was captain of Color Line Cruises. Svalastog is currently a member of the team overseeing the final stage of outfitting and interior build-out for Viking Star, which touched water for the first time in June 2014 at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard and will be christened in May 2015.

"We could not ask for a better captain for our first ocean ship," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Captain Svalastog brings an impeccable record that will undoubtedly guide Viking Star and her guests though a successful maiden season."

Carnival Corporation Signs Agreement With Largest Chinese Shipyard
Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise company, today announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) to explore the possibility of a joint venture aimed at accelerating the development and growth of the Chinese cruise industry, expected to be one of the largest cruise markets in the world with 4.5 million passengers by 2020, according to the Chinese Ministry of Transport (MOT).

Carnival Corporation Signs Agreement With Largest Chinese ShipyardBecoming official at a signing ceremony today at the Ninth China Cruise Shipping and International Cruise Expo inTianjin, the MOU outlines the framework for exploration of a partnership between Carnival Corporation and the CSSC that includes the possibility of forming a shipbuilding joint venture that could become a three-way arrangement involving Fincantieri ofItaly, the world's largest cruise ship building company, in support of the Chinese government's plans to grow the cruising industry inChina and meet escalating demand for cruises from Chinese travelers.

As part of the possible shipbuilding joint venture, Carnival Corporation would work closely with CSSC and Fincantieri to help define the first-ever, world-class cruise ship built in China. Carnival Corporation, the world's leading cruise operator, has been involved in building modern cruise ships that exceed guest expectations more than any entity in the world. Under the joint venture concept, Carnival Corporation would provide its ship design and shipbuilding expertise to create the vision, definition and overall specifications for theChina-built cruise ship.

"This is really a breakthrough day for all of us at Carnival, as well as our friends at the CSSC and all Chinese travelers who are increasingly turning to cruises for their vacation experiences," saidArnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "This landmark agreement enables us to work closely with our partners at the CSSC to fully explore the possibility of forming a joint venture to further developChina into a leading cruise market, supporting local economic development and bringing vacation enjoyment to millions. We look forward to getting to work and lending the expertise of many talented people across Carnival Corporation."

In the past year, the Chinese Ministry of Transport has expressed its strong desire to transformChina into a leading global cruise market, including investments in infrastructure and developing a strong domestic cruise presence to help spur growth in cruising as a key component of the expanding tourism industry inChina.

The MOT projects China to be the second largest global cruise market after the U.S. in the next several years based on economic growth, increased spending power of Chinese consumers and growing demand for cruise vacations inChina. Partnerships like the relationship being fully explored between CSSC and Carnival support the MOT's pro-growth cruise policies designed to spur new economic development from tourism inChina.

Carnival Corporation just recently announced its plans for immediate capacity growth in China in 2015 to meet growing demand. With Costa Cruises adding the Costa Serena to its fleet in China in April of next year, Carnival Corporation will be the first global cruise company with four ships homeported in China, growing the company's leading market presence by 140 percent from 2013 – 2015. Costa Serena joins Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Sapphire Princess already homeported in China.

With its Costa and Princess brands homeporting ships in China, Carnival Corporation offers Chinese travelers a diversified cruising product with two brands targeting two different segments of travelers. Having multiple brands enables Carnival to meet and exceed guest expectations on the cruises it operates in China by closely matching passenger tastes with the right brand experience. In total, Carnival will have 220 port calls from five brands in China in 2014, which is 15 percent of the company's total port calls in all of Asia – a region where Carnival doubled its market share over the past two years

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 33.88 - 14.23%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 55.35 - 16.09%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.90 - 3.97%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 31.97 - 10.20%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which famous liner included the Knickerbocker Bar with artwork depicting the evolution of the cocktail?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which ship was the first to offer movies at sea?

Answer - The United States Shipping Board's MARTHA WASHINGTON, operating in the early 1920's for Munson Line on trips from the United States to Brasil, Uruguay and Argentina. The movies were shown on deck.
courtesy of Mark Smith


Cruise News - October 6, 2014

SS United States Conservancy Has "High Hopes" To Save Famous Liner;
Reaches Major Funding Milestone

"But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes.
He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes"

Those lyrics are from a song called "High Hopes" which was made popular by Frank Sinatra in the late 1950's. The song describes a number of scenarios where impossible odds are seemingly overcome through of a combination of positive attitude and perseverance.

SS United StatesDuring 1959, the year that song first became popular, the passenger liner SS United States - the flagship of the United States Lines - had been in service for seven years and was carrying thousands of passengers a week across the Atlantic in comfort and luxury.

At 990 feet in length, the SS United States was a technical marvel designed by legendary marine architect, William Francis Gibbs and when she entered service in 1952 she was the pride of the American merchant fleet. Her first passage from Ambrose Lighthouse to Bishops Rock smashed the record for fastest crossing of the Atlantic in 3 days, 10 hours and 40 minutes.

It has been more than 55 years since "High Hopes" first became a hit and while the song has faded from the public's memory and become part of a forgotten past, amazingly the SS United States is very much a part of the here and now.

For the past 18 years the once famous liner has been tied up at Pier 84 in South Philadelphia looking for a new life. The fact that a 53,000 ton ship built over 60 years ago is still around and is the centerpiece of several proposals for re-purposing the ship as a mixed-use permanently moored vessel on the New York waterfront is truly amazing and the direct result of the same combination of positive attitude and perseverance highlighted in the song.

Unfortunately, positive attitude and perseverance can only take a project so far. For the resurrection of the SS United States to come to fruition it will take millions of dollars of investment money and the cooperation of state and local authorities.

According to the SS United States Conservancy, the group that currently owns the SS United States, two detailed proposals have recently been submitted to New York City officials and they are now in talks regarding if and how next steps can emerge.

But time is short and it remains to be seen whether the Conservancy will be able to raise enough money to see their "high hopes" become reality.

In late September, the Conservancy announced that it will need to make a determination about the ship's future by the end of the month unless resources are found in short order to help cover the vessel's ongoing maintenance costs. Specifically, that means they will need to determine whether to sell or scrap the historic ship, unless they have entered into a funded option with a developer or have succeeded in attracting major new philanthropic support.

SS United States"We need someone with vision to step in and save the United States. We've made great strides in recent months, but what we need now is more time. This is an opportunity for a true hero to come forward and ensure the great potential of this project is realized. Discussions are underway with city and state officials to confirm that our plans meet regulatory guidelines and provide significant economic benefits, but the clock is ticking," said the Conservancy's Executive Director Susan Gibbs.

The ship has faced its end several times before. Most recently in 2011, the SS United States was just days away from being scrapped when a major gift to the Conservancy helped the grassroots organization purchase the vessel.

The Conservancy spends more than $60,000 per month to pay for the ship's dockage, insurance and maintenance costs at her current pier in Philadelphia. The organization is funded by private donations and has not received any government support.

On September 30th, the Conservancy announced that they had made progress and were within $2,072 from reaching a goal that would generate a matching fund grant of $100,000 from Jim Pollin who had donated $120,000 to the Conservancy this past June. At the time of that donation, Pollin had pledged to donate an additional $100,000 if the Conservancy succeeded in matching that amount through its fundraising efforts.

Then just this week the Conservancy announced that it had raised $122,165 from donors in 44 states in 17 countries in amounts spanning one dollar to ten thousand. In response, Jim Pollin upped the ante: "Our nation's flagship isn't just an historic vessel," Pollin said. "It also represents the people of a great and determined nation that once again have demonstrated they can rise to any challenge. In response to the generosity of so many supporters of the SS United States, I am proud to match their recent contributions with an additional donation of $120,000 to save this enduring symbol of our country."

The good news is that thanks to this fundraising success, the ship is safe for now. But the situation remains critical, and as the Conservancy continues to negotiate with New York developers, its hopes remain high that the vessel will soon be heading into drydock in anticipation of a star-spangled journey to a new port of call.

Check back for updates as the story of the SS United States continues.

P&O Unveils Britannia's Livery
P&O Unveils Britannia's LiveryP&O announced this week that it as put the finishing touches to the brand new livery on the newest ship in their fleet; Britannia. She's the largest ship built for Britain and will be officially named in her glittering naming ceremony in Southampton in March 2015.

The bold new look on the bow features the world's largest contemporary version of the Union Flag, which required huge volumes of paint! In total, the cruise line said that it needed 280 litres of red paint, 40 litres red for the shadow, 80 litres of blue, 20 litres of blue for the shadow and 160 litres for the big logo of P&O Cruises on the front of the bow.

Britannia will also have two distinctive blue funnels carrying an illuminated rising sun motif, which depicts the Oriental part of the Peninsular and Oriental (P&O) name on our coat of arms.

When working to full capacity, Britannia’s four engines will generate 62.4 Megawatts or 84,000 horsepower which is equivalent to the power generated by 168 supercars, allowing the 141,000 ton ship to cruise at a speed of 22 knots.

Britannia’s maiden season will see the ship sail from Southampton to the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and the Baltic Sea, as well as offering a range of short breaks and a special round Britain cruise. The ship will then transfer to the Caribbean for the winter season sailing a range of 15 night fly/cruise itineraries from Barbados.

Crystal Symphony Returns From Dry Dock
Crystal Symphony has emerged from a two-week, $20 million-plus dry dock redesign with lushly reimagined spaces, indoors and out. Luxury cruise leader Crystal Cruises unveiled the ship's new look on September 27, as guests embarked on an eight-day Hamburg-Lisbon voyage, greeted by contemporary and elegant new designs in the Crystal Plaza and adjacent Crystal Cove Bar area – the ship's main activity "hubs". Luxury travelers on board will also experience a new outdoor "Fitness Garden" spanning three aft decks; top of the line indoor fitness equipment; redesigned spa and casino spaces; additional PURE allergy-friendly staterooms; and technological upgrades throughout the ship.

2014 redesign of the Crystal Symphony Crystal Plaza"We continue to invest in creating a contemporary and sumptuous environment that meets the travelers' desire," says Crystal President and COO, Edie Rodriguez. "The new features and spaces added during this dry dock are astounding, and offer our guests the relaxed, yet luxurious comfort that they have come to expect and enjoy on Crystal Cruises."

Highlights of the intensive redesign include:

• Fitness spaces – A brand new outdoor Fitness Garden was added to decks 7, 8 and 12 aft, featuring a "Curated Self-Guided Movement Journey" utilizing the glass-blasted, stainless steel equipment, with adjustments for virtually every fitness level. Deck 12's indoor Fitness Center boasts new equipment from Technogym -- the official choice for Olympic and World Cup competitors – including brand new cardio equipment plus an expanded collection of Technogym's Kinesis™ strength training equipment. This new addition makes Crystal an industry-first to feature the top of the line Artis equipment at sea. The new indoor fitness experience is the most technologically-advanced available with an intuitive, tablet-like Unity™ interface programming system enabling guests to connect to music, data, workout-tracking, or TV-watching.

• Crystal Plaza – The main lobby area (including the Reception, Front Desk, and Concierge sections), and the bustling "hub" on board, boasts added drama with a new towering waterfall, a rich color palette of indigo and bronze, bespoke carpets, new upholstery and tables for fresh flowers complementing the existing marble floors and wood balustrade and stair details. These contemporary designs were all inspired by designer Christopher Farr, creating lasting first impressions for guests as they embark on their journey.

• Cove Bar – New and up-cycled furniture, contrasting indigo and cream color palette, artwork and metal-work cocktail tables reflect an elegant luxury yacht setting, while a revised layout allows for more social group seating and places the bar as the centerpiece of the new space. New sculptural furniture pieces, drapery, artwork, and a large scale custom carpet design reflect a fluid and flowing design concept, and carry the design across the space.

• Stateroom upgrades –48 newly converted PURE hypoallergenic luxury staterooms are now available on the ship, offering a comprehensive, chemical- and odor-free indoor environment solution. With a state-of-the-art medical grade air purifier discreetly installed to filter out 99.9% of all airborne impurities on an ongoing basis, guests can expect relief from allergies and more sound sleep, thus enhancing the overall relaxation and recuperation expected from a vacation.

• Spa and Salon – Colorful new tiles adorn the steam room and changing areas in the men's and women's spa facilities, while the salon has been upgraded with a new pedicure area and wall coverings.

• Casino – The port side wall was removed to create a more open, accessible space, showcasing a modified layout, and new slot machines.

• The Bistro – New seating and decor reflects a European bistro in a modern way, bringing fresh life to one of the most popular meeting and dining spots on the ship. Tech upgrades – New digital signage will display important cruise and programming details throughout the ship on 14 flat screen monitors near the ship's lounges, theatres, dining and sales areas.

• Indoor & outdoor refreshments – Deck 10 staterooms and Penthouses now sport new verandah furniture, while carpets for all deluxe staterooms (415 in all), as well as guest corridors on four decks, were replaced.

• Shopping – Facets now features watches from luxury designers Hublot, Jaegar LeCoulture and Zenith.

Carnival Corporation Building Crew Training Facility in the Netherlands
Carnival Corporation & plc today finalized its land purchase in Almere, Netherlands, marking the official start of development for its state-of-the-art training facility that will serve 6,500 deck and technical officers from all nine of its global cruise brands each year. The centerpiece of the new campus will be a new and three-times-larger Center for Simulator Maritime Training (CSMART), Carnival Corporation's world-class maritime training, professional development and research facility, already operating in Almere.

Carnival worked with Dutch property group AMVEST Vastgoed B.V. in the Netherlands to purchase the seven-acre property along the coast in DUIN, a planned business and residential community in Almere, one of Europe's newest and fastest growing cities, conveniently located on the outskirts of Amsterdam and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

The official ceremony following the land transfer for Carnival Corporation's new CSMART facility in Almere, NetherlandsThe new CSMART facility, expected to open in 2016, will continue to be a key to Carnival Corporation as the company works to enhance, expand and streamline its global training efforts across all nine of its cruise brands. The courses provided by Carnival at both the original and new facilities set a higher standard for training in the cruising industry that exceeds industry regulations. As the world's largest cruise company, the corporation has recognized the importance of ensuring training resources keep up with both the growth of the business and advancements in cruise ship technology.

"Carnival has established a world-class center for maritime training and research featuring the latest innovations in technology, and expanding our facility and capabilities underscores the company's top priority -- consistently exceeding our guests' expectations by providing great vacations and memories," said David Christie, senior vice president of maritime quality assurance for Carnival Corporation. "We are eager to begin building our new center in a city that has been a wonderful home for CSMART and in a development that provides a great setting for our deck and technical officers."

"Having Carnival Corporation continue to maintain its presence in our city and make a significant investment here is a great vote of confidence from a major global enterprise that we believe will help spur development for Almere, which is already one of the fastest growing cities in Europe," said Almere Alderman Henk Mulder. "This is exciting news not just for Almere, but the entire region and country."

"Carnival's training center will seamlessly fit into AMVEST's development plans for our 250-acre DUIN project on Almere's lake shore," said AMVEST Vastgoed B.V. CEO Wienke Bodewes, "The center will be the first anchor in our development which will feature dunes and beaches, a marina and a boulevard, homes, apartments, shops and offices – all of which complement a maritime enterprise like Carnival and will serve as great resources for visitors to the CSMART training campus."

The new and expanded facility will build on the positive economic impact continuing to be made by Carnival Corporation in Almere and the Netherlands by the original facility, which was opened in 2009. The center being built in DUIN and the original facility are the product of Carnival Corporation's $50 million investment in CSMART, supporting the company's commitment to providing industry-leading training for its deck and technical officers. The center is expected to employ up to 52 individuals. As more Carnival representatives come to the expanded center than ever before, significant revenue and commerce will be generated for businesses and people in the area, including Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, transportation services, food suppliers and others.

Carnival Corporation made the decision to bring the original center to Almere for several reasons, including its location near Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, a modern international airport that serves as one of the key hubs in Europe, the long tradition of maritime excellence in the Netherlands and the reputation of the region as a welcoming place to do business. These reasons paired with the current success of the original facility helped the company make the decision to also develop its new facility in Almere.

The current CSMART facility features the most advanced equipment and instructional tools available for captains, officers and engineers – this technology will also be incorporated into the new center on a larger scale with even more advanced additions. Four full mission bridge simulators including bridge wings, four engine room simulators, nine smaller part task simulators and the industry's first fully equipped training safety center will provide participants with a superior maritime training experience.

Construction on the facility is expected to begin in 2015.

Star Princess to Deliver Relief Supplies on Return to Cabo San Lucas
Star Princess to Deliver Relief Supplies on Return to Cabo San LucasStar Princess will call on Cabo San Lucas this Saturday, Oct. 4, for the first time following Hurricane Odile and bring needed relief supplies to area residents impacted by the storm. The Princess cruise ship will deliver pallets of bottled water, milk and paper products, among other supplies.

"The residents of Cabo San Lucas form one big hospitality community that regularly welcomes our ships' guests. We want to return that hospitality by giving back to them as they work to recover and prepare to receive visitors once again," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises.

"The entire destination has been working tirelessly to reopen restaurants, shops and tours, and all of us at Princess appreciate and applaud their commitment to tourism and their tremendous effort to rebuild and restore so quickly," she added.

Star Princess will be the first Princess ship, and among the first of all cruise line ships, to visit Cabo San Lucas since Hurricane Odile hit the area in mid-September. The popular Princess Cruises west coast fall 2014 and spring 2015 sailings program includes a variety of 7, 9- and 10-day Mexico cruises on Grand Princess, Crown Princess and Star Princess. Panama Canal cruises on Island Princess also call on Mexico destinations including Cabo San Lucas.

A Yacht Bigger Than a Cruise Ship?

Move over Azzam, at 180m (590'), you're not long enough. Tough luck, Eclipse, at 163.5m (536'), you're yesterday's news. Goodbye Dubai, at 162m (531'), you've had your day in the sun.

Project "Triple Deuce" is coming, and at 222 meters (728.4'), it's going to send you, and other yachts in your category, into obscurity as this new build takes its place as the world's largest yacht.

To put this massive yacht in perspective for the layman, the sheer size of Triple Deuce even dwarfs some cruise shipsMost Expensive, Largest, Private Yacht Ever Built - "Project Triple Deuce is about to set the world on fire as not only the largest private yacht ever built, coming in at a whopping 222 meters (728.4'), but also the most expensive, at a cost of over $1 billion USD," said Craig Timm, yacht broker at 4Yacht, Inc., responsible for selling Project Triple Deuce to his client.

This Yacht Dwarfs Cruise Ships - To put this massive yacht in perspective for the layman, the sheer size of Triple Deuce even dwarfs some cruise ships. As an example, Costa Cruises has a ship named Costa Classic that is 722' long and carries 1,308 passengers and 590 crewmembers. But Triple Deuce is a private yacht, and is designed to carry only 36 guests in opulent luxury with a crew complement of 90-100.

In addition to being the longest private yacht in the world at 222 meters (728.4'), the yacht will have a beam of 24.9 meters (81.69'), and a draft of 4.8 meters (15.78').

This yacht will be no slouch in the speed department either, as its top speed will be in excess of 30 knots (35 MPH). To get to that speed, she will be powered by triple gas turbine engines making over 100,000 horsepower. The yacht also has no rudders, as electric podded propulsion units (think The Queen Mary 2) will handle maneuvering.

Owner And Guests Live Like Royalty - The owner's suite, at 275 square meters (2960 square feet) over two stories, will encompass nearly one full deck of space in the seven-deck yacht, and offer unparalleled views. It will feature two staterooms, and will include private access to a helipad and an elevator from an exclusive drive in dock, as well as all the luxury amenities you would come to expect. The owner's suite also offers a private gym, office and study, private dining area, butler's stateroom and more.

Onboard guests will be similarly pampered in four VIP suites of 90 square meters (968 square feet) apiece, and 12 guest suites, each at over 60 square meters (645 square feet). All guests will have access to the yacht's two pools, one indoor, one outdoor, multiple Jacuzzis, spa facilities, full time masseuse, hair stylist and barber, as well as all the water toys the yacht can carry.

Who Would Buy A Yacht Of This Size? - "It takes a person of vision, someone with a dream to own the worlds largest yacht and to bring it to reality," claims Timm. "We work almost exclusively with UHNWI (ultra high net worth individuals) clients and specialize in mega yachts and super yachts. For several years, we have advertised the sale of a 200 meter yacht on our luxury website, http://www.4yacht.com, and have worked with several UHNWI as well as several Middle Eastern clients toward the goal of building a yacht of this size. We had many discussions with our buyer that a yacht of 200 meters was of sufficient length, however with the launching of Azzam recently at 180 Meters, that all changed.

This Yacht Not To Be "Eclipsed" - "What our client was concerned about is that if we built the yacht to 200 meters, then someone would come along like Roman Abramovich when he built Eclipse at 163.5 meters, to barely 'eclipse' Sheikh Maktoum's yacht, the 162-meter Dubai, by only 1.5 meters," said Timm. "By building the yacht to 222 meters, he wants to make it difficult, if not impossible, to be 'eclipsed' himself."

According to Timm, construction of Project Triple Deuce will begin at a European shipyard, which has still yet to be decided, in the next 6-12 months, with a target delivery date of spring 2018. He goes on to say that the yacht will be built under the 100 A1 Passenger Ship Classification and be fully PYC (Passenger Yacht Code) Compliant.

What's All This Luxury Going To Cost The Owner Of This Yacht? - Current large super yachts run about €3.5 million to €4 million per meter to build at the best European shipyards. If we do the quick math, we can see that Project Deuce will cost €777 million to €888 million, or at the current USD exchange rate, $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion."Don't forget to add in annual operating costs," Timm said. "On a yacht of this size, it will run the owner an additional $20-$35 million USD per year."

The Race To Build The Biggest And The Best - Much like the race to build the tallest buildings in the world, such as the Shanghai Tower at 632 meters (2073'), or the Burj Khalifa at 828 meters (2717'), super yachts will continue to expand their size depending on who needs to have the biggest and best yacht.

How Long Will Project Triple Deuce Hold Its Position As The World's Largest Yacht? - "That's hard to determine, as there is a limit, not in size, but functionality and logistics," Timm said. "We haven't gotten there yet, but if the uber wealthy of the world have their way, Project Triple Deuce will be toppled in the future. How soon? That will be anybody's guess."

Cunard Appoints MGA Media Group as North America PR Agency
Cunard Appoints MGA Media Group as North America PR AgencyCunard Line announced this week that it has selected New York City based MGA Media Group to lead their public relations efforts in North America. MGA Media Group will direct the luxury cruise line’s brand awareness, strategic partnership development, special events and media relations as the company prepares to celebrate its 175th Anniversary in 2015.

“MGA Media Group displays a unique combination of brand understanding, industry expertise and creative thinking that we believe will elevate our brand awareness to our various audiences,” said Stanley Birge, vice president, North America, for Cunard Line. “We are very excited about this new partnership.”

Work began in September 2014 with a celebratory 10th Anniversary event for Queen Mary 2 on board the flagship in Boston Harbor.

Maria Grazia Andriano, president and chief strategist of MGA Media Group, said, “We are proud to have been selected as Cunard Line’s North American public relations agency of record, especially as it celebrates its 175th Anniversary. We are excited to help the brand highlight its rich history, while looking to the future to develop new strategic partnerships and public relations initiatives.”

MGA Media Group represents a prestigious portfolio of hospitality, travel, real estate, beauty and wellness clients. Andriano, a public relations veteran, has a deep knowledge of the brand, having represented Cunard previously in her career.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 39.50 - 2.23%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 65.96 - 1.45%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.02 + 1.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 35.60 - 1.71%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ship was the first to offer movies at sea?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which cruise ship's capacity was set to equal the number of seats in a 747?

Answer - The ship in question was the 'Golden Odyssey', built for Royal Cruise Line in 1974. Her capacity equalled that of a Boeing 747 and it was felt the use of one planeload of passengers to fill the ship would promote their fly/cruise programme. The ship is still in service as the German-operated 'Astra II'.
courtesy of Tony Davis

VACATION & CRUISE SPECIALS
Check out these great deals from CruisePage.com

Royal Caribbean - Bahamas Getaway from $129 per person
Description: Experience the beautiful ports of Nassau and Royal Caribbean's private island - CocoCay on a 3-night Weekend Getaway to the Bahamas. Absorb everything island life has to offer as you snorkel with the stingrays, parasail above the serene blue waters and walk the endless white sand beaches. From Miami.
Carnival - 4-Day Bahamas  from $229 per person
Description: Enjoy a wonderful 3 Day cruise to the fun-loving playground of Nassau, Bahamas. Discover Nassau, the capital city as well as the cultural, commercial and financial heart of the Bahamas. Meet the Atlantic Southern Stingrays, the guardians of Blackbeard's treasure.
NCL - Bermuda - 7 Day from $499 per person
Description: What a charming little chain of islands. Walk on pink sand beaches. Swim and snorkel in turquoise seas. Take in the historical sights. They're stoically British and very quaint. Or explore the coral reefs. You can get to them by boat or propelled by fins. You pick. Freestyle Cruising doesn't tell you where to go or what to do. Sure, you can plan ahead, or decide once onboard. After all, it's your vacation. There are no deadlines or must do's.
Holland America - Eastern Caribbean from From $599 per person
Description: White sand, black sand, talcum soft or shell strewn, the beaches of the Eastern Caribbean invite you to swim, snorkel or simply relax. For shoppers, there's duty-free St. Thomas, the Straw Market in Nassau, French perfume and Dutch chocolates on St. Maarten. For history buffs, the fascinating fusion of Caribbean, Latin and European cultures. For everyone, a day spent on HAL's award winning private island Half Moon Cay.
Celebrity - 7-Night Western Mediterranean  from $549 per person
Description: For centuries people have traveled to Europe to see magnificent ruins, art treasures and natural wonders. And the best way to do so is by cruise ship. Think of it - you pack and unpack only once. No wasted time searching for hotels and negotiating train stations. Instead, you arrive at romantic ports of call relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Holland America - Alaska from From $499 per person
Description: Sail between Vancouver and Seward, departing Sundays on the ms Statendam or ms Volendam and enjoy towering mountains, actively calving glaciers and pristine wildlife habitat. Glacier Bay and College Fjord offer two completely different glacier-viewing experiences.
|  Home  |  About Us  |  Suggest-a-Site  |  Feedback  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy  | 
This page, and all contents, are © 1995-2006 by Interactive Travel Guides, Inc. and/or its suppliers. All rights reserved.
TravelPage.com is a trademark of Interactive Travel Guides, Inc.
Powered by TravelServer Software